On Christmas Trees and Seeking First the Kingdom…

I wanted to buy a Christmas tree this year.
Since I have now officially moved to Guatemala for the foreseeable future, I decided it was a good long-term investment.
And since my boxes finally arrived from the States (a whole other story), I have the ornaments for the tree.

But currently I am living in an apartment with one other teacher and the living room is a shared common area.
I don’t know where exactly I will be living next Christmas.
So I decided that “smaller would be better” and started looking for a tabletop tree.

The store I thought most likely to have such a thing did have trees – but they started at around five feet and went up from there.

I decided on the spot that I wouldn’t mind a medium tree if that was all I could find – but then I looked at the price of the smallest, a five-footer. It was more than I was willing to pay.

So the hunt was on for an affordable tree, somewhere between three and five feet tall.

I recruited my friend Jorge and we set off to go to various stores around town, searching for the right tree at the right price.
The second store we went into – one of the local grocery chains – had a selection of three different types of trees, all in the medium range. The trees were displayed above the shelves, way up high.
We checked the price and voila! They were on sale! This store wanted less than half of what they were charging across the mall.

So Jorge told the lady, she got the tag and went to the back. She returned carrying a plain brown box that was just about the right height. Jorge checked to make sure the stand was there – it was – and we took it to the checkout.

The next night my roommate and I decided to put it up. As we wrestled it out of the box, I was surprised to find that it was in three pieces! And as we put it up, I realized this was no five-foot tree!
When fully assembled, the top is way over my 5’5” frame and nearly touches the ceiling of our apartment, as you can see in the photo.

Now I am not sure what happened.
Did the display tree appear deceptively small since it was up high?
Did she give me a different box than she was supposed to?
Was the display like a floor model that was not to scale?
I have no idea!
All I know for sure is that my “tabletop tree” dream that morphed to a five-foot dream had suddenly grown into an even greater outcome!

And I thought, “Isn’t that just like God?!”
He took my miniature dreams and turned them into something colossal.
He took the desire of my heart and made it something grander than I had in mind.
And he did it for an amazing price.

Here’s what I know about the character of God:
He loves to give us surprises.
He delights in taking small things and making them grand.
And He knows our desires better than we do.

Does He always operate on my timetable? Certainly not!
Does He always multiply things the same way? Definitely not!
And do I always get my way, the things I think I want or even what I think I need? Never!

But I have learned that if I make Him my main concern,
if I walk in His footsteps and yield to His ways,
if I seek first HIS Kingdom instead of my own,
He pours out blessings.

Good gifts.
Surprising gifts.
Splendid gifts.
Better than I could think to desire.

Paul put it this way in Ephesians 3:
“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.”

A Christmas tree for Kathy seems like such a silly thing for God to be concerned about.
And yet, His concern for me, His provision for me, His exponential blessing is not silly at all.
It is a powerful reminder of who He is and how His Kingdom operates.

He has proven yet again that He is a good, good Father, granting good, good gifts to His daughter.
Not because I deserve them. I don’t.
But simply because I have yielded to His Kingship, placing myself under His authority.

Jesus told us it would work this way.
“Seek first the Kingdom”, He said, and God will take care of the rest.
Apparently, that doesn’t just apply to clothing lilies and feeding the birds of the air – it also applies to Christmas trees!

And now to purchase a few more ornaments to finish it off…

5 thoughts on “On Christmas Trees and Seeking First the Kingdom…

  1. Hi!
    I have never met you, but I came across one of your blog posts when I was looking for something for my students to share on the Christmas program. It was the post titled “On Stooping”, and I found that story to be exactly what I needed, since my theme for the program is following Jesus’ example of servanthood. Is it okay for me to use a very condensed version of that story? My students would be presenting it at our church.
    Thanks in advance for your time.


  2. Hi!
    I recently came across a post of yours called “On Stooping”, and since my theme for my students’ Christmas program is servanthood, it was exactly what I needed. Is it okay for me to have them present a version of that story at our church?
    Thanks in advance for your time.
    -Nancy Dueck
    5th and 6th grade teacher
    Fairland, OK


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