I love Christmas and celebrating the birth of Christ. I enjoy the music, lights, food, get togethers with family, buying and receiving gifts, decorating and the Christmas Eve Service.
A few years ago, my husband and I decided to stop putting up the tree. We had this artificial, flocked tree. It was beautiful. I had it for almost 15 years. Some years we would decide to get a real tree and not put the “fake one” up.
But one year, my husband and I were discussing how to decorate for Christmas. We realized that we would often put the tree as the main focal point. Yes, I’d have little nativity sets throughout the house, but often we would all gravitate towards the tree. We would put presents under the tree so then the kids would always be looking there wondering what they received. And then Christmas Day comes and we all gather around the tree to open gifts. We spent more time looking at that tree than we did focusing on Jesus.
So we decided to replace the tree with a large lighted lawn nativity and put it in the living room. We have since bought a different nativity to put out on our front lawn and have my mom’s ceramic nativity set still displayed inside along with some pine garland, Biblical Christmas quote wall decor and a few other small decorations. Our decorations inside have decreased but I feel we are no longer focusing on things other than the real reason of the season.
While many may think that we are becoming too religious or restrictive by not putting up a tree, I believe we are just changing our focus. I’m not an authoritarian parent so I have allowed my children to have small trees in their rooms if they choose. But as for the family, we no longer have the large tree in the living room.
While I do love the smell of pine and admire the fresh look of trees, these things in nature remind me of the power of God and how He created all of these beautiful things. I don’t worship them but I do admire them as things from Him. I believe that as we grow in our walk with God, it becomes more about how we can best worship and focus on Him. Other things become less significant. I have not become a “Bah Humbug” person at all, rather I feel my joy is coming more from God than from looking at the tree.