Today we brought our first real Christmas tree. We decided it was the ideal opportunity for a real tree since I sold our artificial Christmas tree a few weeks ago as we’re moving interstate and should be there by now. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened yet, and we have no Christmas tree, little furniture and a house full of packing boxes.

So today we chose to make the best of a problematic situation and went on a tree hunting expedition with our two youngest children who are still in the same state as us.

Everyone talks about having a real tree, but I discovered today that real Christmas trees are different – they aren’t uniform in shape, are all unique, don’t stand up by themselves and make a huge mess. Add to that is the issue my husband has with real trees. On wrestling with our newly purchased Christmas tree to get it in the car and then into the house, he broke out in a rash and began sneezing uncontrollably. It seems he might be a little allergic to our tree.

However, there are definite benefits to a real tree. They smell amazing, made me laugh about Christmas for the first time in weeks, and remind me of my childhood and my Dad cutting our tree for us every Christmas Eve. They remind me that the real and genuine things in our lives are not perfect, predictable, uniform and all the same, but unique.

Real often has flaws and inconsistencies when compared to the artificial, and they can require support until you figure them out. Real is unpredictable and needs to be treated differently to the fake things and those people in our lives that won’t allow us to see them for who they are.

Real is vulnerable, authentic, ministers into a part of our soul that the artificial cannot even touch and is worth the effort and the fuss.

You may not have a real tree this Christmas – but look for and learn to value the “real” everywhere else, because long after you forget the artificial and fake things in your life, you will remember the Real.

“ So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honourable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always.” (Philippians 4:8 TPT)

 “But test everything; hold fast what is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

“For you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” (James 1:3)

Prayer: Lord thank you for the real all around me. Please help me to see what is true and authentic in my life and to value that above anything else because real is what lasts. In Jesus name Amen.