Daily Advent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Thursday, December 15, Morning

By Dena Wise

Our Amazing Ragtag Christmas Tree

Read 1 Corinthians 12:18-20

“God has placed each part in the body just as he wanted it to be. If all the parts were the same, how could there be a body? As it is, there are many parts. But there is only one body.” (NIRV)

I would probably be embarrassed to have my friends, who mostly have beautiful, store-bought or vintage ornaments, help decorate our Christmas tree. Everything but the proverbial kitchen sink goes on it: stems of glittery plastic gold and platinum leaves, chipped red and gold balls that hung on my parents’ tree for many years, crumbly construction paper bells and reindeer that our girls (now in their 40’s) made in kindergarten and grade school, tiny dolls that my mom tucked in my stocking every year until I had babies of my own, etched gold ornaments from cities I’ve visited for conferences, photo ornaments of all the grandkids, tiny baskets and kitchen utensils, stuffed bears and gingerbread men, and a set of Chinese paper dolls in traditional dress that my daughter found tucked in a cabinet in her first student apartment. No themes, and nothing matches; it’s just a hodgepodge of things we’ve collected through thick and thin, over a lifetime.

Yet incredibly, when it all comes together, it’s beautiful. The glittery leaves and shiny balls reflect the lights and make the tree and the room glow. A few hundred ornaments and odds and ends crowd every inch of the branches, and kids and grandkids spend happy time reminiscing about family trips, craft sessions, and family and friends they represent. Our Christmas tree always reminds me that reflecting the glow of God’s love and grace, rag-tag, imperfect, mismatched, people can bring out the best in each other, and shine with amazing light in a dark world.


O Holy Light of the World, fill us with your radiance and love so that our bodies and spirits, our gifts and our efforts, imperfect and ragtag though they be, may build your Church, reflect Your purpose, and glow in Community to light the world’s darkest hours. Amen.

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