For the past month, they were celebrated.
People dressed them up, told stories around them, prayed near them, lit them up and hung precious family keepsakes on them. They stood tall, beautiful and lush.
Soon, they will be in a pile, stacked up, lying on their side with decorations taken off of them, lights stripped off and the only thing that is left from their month or so of glory is a few shiny tinsels left on the branches as they sit in the "recycle" pile, awaiting their destiny.
My heart broke as I saw the huge pile of used Christmas trees in a pile in my neighborhood. How could we be so cruel? What a sight it is — especially for someone like me who loves Christmas so much — to see a pile of beautiful trees who were still green and beautiful, but already forgotten.
I suppose that is how it is in life. My thoughts turned to the way people chase fame. People want to be loved, adored, lifted up and celebrated. If we are honest, this would be something each of us has a desire for deep down in our human soul. But what does fame really have to offer?
If you look around at those who are famous, you will notice a couple of consistent principles. Fame is fleeting. Just like the Christmas trees, people can be celebrated, adored and decorated for a season, but inevitably, the world will move on and the famous one must work even harder to be noticed. I've often thought that desire to stay in the limelight is what ruins so many people. Is it better to have had it and lost it or never have had it at all? We've seen it time and time again — people just don't stay famous once they get there unless there is tremendous effort and marketability. So many child actors have gone down some dark roads because of this life pattern.
The season comes and goes, and so do the trees.
Next year, we get a new one, maybe even a taller one that is more filled out and beautiful. The world always looks for something better, something with more to offer. It is impossible to please everyone all the time. And if our focus is to be the best, to be the most loved and celebrated, we will be devastated when the world tosses us out.
Even though they are celebrated (almost worshiped at times) those who are famous are often lifeless inside — like the Christmas tree who has been uprooted. They are also the loneliest people. The tree relies on people to keep it alive and watered, just as a famous person must rely on people's attention and affirmation to remain famous. But eventually, the trees will die without the root, and so do people. It may look good on the outside, but inside, there is often a lifeless soul who is dependent on the care of others.
This world has nothing to offer us, in reality. The desire we have deep down to be loved and adored comes from our deep desire for a relationship with God mixed with a very misled attempt to fill it with something fleeting. In order to experience lasting love, adoration and celebration, we can only find that in one place — in the arms of our Savior, Jesus Christ. If we seek Him first above everything else, everything will fall into place in our lives (Matt. 6:33) — including our need for acceptance. We can only find that acceptance and love in the arms of our Savior.
Now that is something to celebrate!
Are you chasing after some type of worldly acceptance? If you feel this may be a struggle for you, is there someone in your life you can talk to about this and ask for some prayer and accountability?