Every November we have that discussion in our family – are we going ‘real?’ Or are we staying ‘fake?’ What I mean is regards the Christmas tree.
In our loft, we have a fake Christmas tree. It is uniform, standard, with built in lights, reliable, symmetrical, predictable, safe, the same old, it comes out year after year, and it fits in a stand. It looks perfectly fine but it’s not real.
This year we opted for going real. We went to the Christmas tree farm, and there you choose the tree you want, stand by it and wave your little flag, then a staff member comes and chops the tree down for you, puts it in the netting, and then you transport it home. It was a really festive trip!
Once we got the tree home, and set it in place, we realised that being ‘real’ means that the tree isn’t perfect. There are gaps where there are no branches, there is the occasional branch that juts out and looks awkward, there are bare bits, even with lights and baubles attached. It’s vulnerable, and it sheds its needles.
It’s ‘real’ therefore not perfect but it is fragrant and magnificent.
So, are YOU going to be ‘real’ this Christmas? The heart of the Christmas story is very ‘real,’ very earthy, brave, vulnerable, very gutsy. A young Mary becomes the mother of our Lord. It’s the story of vulnerability and humility that the Christ child was born in an animal trough.
We can go real this Christmas, and maybe in going real, Christmas will be even more real to us.