Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Christmas Tree Story

Our family has quite a story about our first pre-lit artificial Christmas tree, involving a mangy kitty, a can of Lysol, and lots of forgiveness.  

Several years ago, we took in a cat from a relative, and he was quite a mess.  

His hair had been shaved, his bottom burned because he sat on a hot stove, and he was full of fleas. I made an appointment to get all his shots and to have him neutered. But, the vet couldn't see him for a week.

Knowing that cats mark their territory if they aren't fixed, I made him a nice cozy spot in our garage, until his appointment.

After he went to the vet, we started him on flea treatment, he grew out a beautiful, healthy fur coat.

It was after Thanksgiving that we decided to put up the Christmas tree—the Christmas tree, only a year ago, my husband had braved the mad dash to get the rock bottom Black Friday price at Macy's.  

Right away, we noticed the bag that held the tree had something brownish and sticky on it. One good whiff and we knew that our kitty had done a little territorial "marking" on the bag, before we had him fixed—and, it must have happened months ago.

The puddle had been sitting on the bag all that time. I hoped that the bag kept the tree from olfactory ruin, but upon opening it and getting an eye watering sniff, we both knew the stench had definitely gotten through.

My husband rushed to the store and purchased a few cans of air freshener. Spraying it with all his might, he desperately tried to de-stink the tree, but to no avail.

The garbage truck came the next day and took away our beautiful, musty pre-lit Christmas tree.

We were disappointed to be sure but, we forgave our kitty. He couldn't help marking our Christmas tree. It was in his nature. He had to be changed before he could do any differently.

We humans are the same.

We want to be humane, caring, giving, and loving, but can't seem to pull it off. Instead, we are angry brutes and deal with people's hearts like a bull in a china shop, piercing through and wounding all in our wake.

It really stinks.

Sin that is.

There is an internal change that we must all undergo to be saved from our sins.

Unlike Lysol (which didn't work), the taint and effects of sin, by the power of the Holy Spirit, as we walk in humble obedience, is truly lifted from our hearts and our nature is changed for the better.

Our sins are such an awful stench to God that Jesus Christ received the full due punishment for them all on the cross. By His grace we are saved, by His stripes we are healed. If we hold onto the truth in obedience without wavering, our lives will be transformed.

It is my hope that by the grace of God, the people of God, one person at a time, will reflect the beauty of the Lord and the curse and stink of sin will be done away with.  

Then we will be able to breathe deeply the sweet fragrance of the love of Christ that will emanate from our lives to this lost and broken world.

“…looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. (Titus 2:14, NASB