This past week we loaded up the family and made the trip to Minnesota to celebrate Thanksgiving with my extended family. The weather was unseasonably warm and that was especially nice when it came to outdoor activities.
Our traditional trek to cut down a Christmas Tree was no exception.
It took about thirty minutes to drive out to the farm. When we arrived, we went into the shop and loaded up on candy canes, asked for the latest advice on trees and secured a few saws.
And then we took off in search of the perfect tree.
It seemed that every time we located one that gave us hope, we found a reason to reject it. Typical reasons would be that it was bare on one side or what looked like one tree was actually two or three growing together or the branches were sparse, etc.
So, we walked around for an hour looking for perfection then we started to get tired and hungry and all those imperfections seemed to melt away and we settled on something nice, but certainly less than perfect.
Ultimately, we got home with our tree and went to work setting it up. We trimmed some branches, put it on the stand, gave it water and then Leigh-Ann brought in her magic that included ribbon, ornaments, and lights.
We have worked hard to make our imperfect tree look perfect.
Kind of reminds me of religion.
At times people work hard to hide their imperfection. However, this time of year we celebrate much more than religion, we celebrate substitution.
Jesus, the Son of God came to earth took on flesh, lived a perfect life and then was crucified, buried and rose again victorious over death.
The story that we love to tell is that instead of having to “dress up” our imperfections with good works, we can admit our imperfection and by faith trust in the death and resurrection of Jesus as sufficient to take our place. Jesus is our Perfect Substitute.
We are in the middle of a Christmas sermon series entitled, “Beyond the Manger.” This Sunday, Pastor James will bring a sermon from John 7:37-39 entitled, Christmas — Drink for our Souls. I know it will be a great reminder of the hope we have been given through Jesus.