by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

I stood on a chair to attach a rough-hewn star – a handmade gift from my son – to the top of our tree. Minutes earlier we had traipsed through the Christmas tree field next to our house. This year I looked for a tree that wasn’t perfect – one that needed some love, one that reflected the struggles of endurance. I found it growing near the creek that courses through the property.

I couldn’t imagine bringing down the two large bins holding 31 years of Christmas memories – each memory hung so carefully year after year on the perfect Christmas tree. This year would be different. This year I would hike along our mountain road seeking God’s perfect ornaments: dried flowers, staghorn sumac, rosehips, pine cones and the buttery shade of dried sweet pea vines stretching into pine branches nearby.

I scattered the white lights across the branches and began placing God’s gifts throughout my imperfect tree. I stepped back to take it in. It looked beautiful, but something was missing. 


In the sepia tones of a cloudy dusk I clipped long, graceful tendrils of grapevine growing in the lower corner of our yard. I drug them inside and began coiling them around my imperfect tree.

And that’s when it hit me. Jesus!

The grapevine curled around the tree like the twisting and turning of a crown of thorns pierced into Jesus’ scalp as He hung from the old rugged cross. From birth to death to resurrection power He came that I might have life.

Into my spirit came the recollection of Isaiah 9:6, 

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given …  And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Tears began pooling in my eyes as the incredible loss I’m experiencing became remarkable gain – the gain of understanding Christ as Wonderful. Counselor. Mighty God. Everlasting Father. Prince of Peace. In my sorrow He has revealed Himself in each of these ways. He has embraced me with the wonder of His love. When I don’t have the courage to make important decisions or there is so much noise in my mind I can’t think, Christ has become my Counselor. Time and again He proved Himself mighty as He battled the enemy for me. My Everlasting Father has picked me up from the floor as I lay crumpled in a soggy mess of tears. There He held me until I felt secure again. And His peace? His peace that has no understanding has protected my heart and given me the strength to go on.

As I looked at my imperfect tree laden with God’s gifts, wrapped in a coiling grapevine, I rejoiced in the faithfulness of my God. Because of His grace I can celebrate the birth of my Savior who wrapped imperfect me in His love.

Holy and precious is the Name of Jesus. 

A Tweetable to Encourage Others

Where is God when it hurts too much to celebrate? @NanJonesAuthor shares personal pain. (Click to Tweet)

Many have commented on the photography I use for my posters. My friend, Mid Stutsman is the gifted photographer. She has recently created calendars and cards with her work and powerful writing. These are being sold at her cost plus postage. For more information you may visit Mid’s facebook page at Mid Stutsman or write her at Christmas is just around the corner. Just sayin’…

If you received Morning Glory via email, please visit the Morning Glory  page. I’m featuring a powerful song by Francesca Battistelli called “Be Born in Me”.