The LORD is my shepherd. I am never in need. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside peaceful waters. He renews my soul. He guides me along the paths of righteousness for the sake of his name. Even though I walk through the dark valley of death, because you are with me, I fear no harm. Your rod and your staff give me courage. You prepare a banquet for me while my enemies watch. You anoint my head with oil. My cup overflows. Certainly, goodness and mercy will stay close to me all the days of my life, and I will remain in the LORD’s house for days without end.
Friend to Friend
Christmas is my favorite time of the year! When our children were younger, a whole set of rules surrounded buying our Christmas tree. It must be purchased on the day after Thanksgiving, and it must be purchased from the nice man who ran a tree lot just down the street from our house because he had the best Frasier Firs in town.
We all piled into “Old Blue,” my husband’s well-worn truck, and headed for the tree lot two minutes away from our house. When we arrived, my husband and our children fanned out in search of “the tree.” As tradition demanded, my husband, Dan, immediately began muttering, “Bah, humbug” under his breath, but just loud enough for us all to hear. That was the cue for our daughter, Danna, to begin rolling her eyes and correcting her Scrooge father. Our son, Jered, ignored them both and carried out his steady search in quiet contemplation. He usually spotted “the tree” first. “Found it!” he shouted, which was another verbal tree-finding tradition. We all gathered to inspect Jered’s find, immediately dismissing it as unworthy, and spreading out once again in search of our tree.
The owners of the tree lot recognized us and understood that there was a non-negotiable Southerland step-by-step process for selecting a tree. They stood back, waiting for the curtain to fall on the tree drama, content in the knowledge that we would eventually buy a tree from them. I considered and dismissed almost every tree on the lot before going back to the first tree Jered picked. Afraid of losing it to another customer, Jered diligently stood guard over his tree until we came to our senses and realized that he, once again, had found the perfect tree. After what we considered a respectable search time, we once again gathered at Jered’s tree, looking for “holes” in the branches, evaluating each side to make sure it would display well and finally, examining the top of the tree to make sure our angel tree-topper would be comfortable there.
The moment of truth arrived when Dan, Danna, and Jered all looked at me and asked, “Well, what do you think, Mom? Is this the one?” Savoring the moment, I took my time before saying, “Let’s get it!” I am almost certain I heard applause at this moment, from my family, from other customers, and certainly from the tree man. My husband wrote the check as Jered loaded the tree in Old Blue and we headed home where the Christmas tree stand was ready and waiting. Jered, the hulk football player, unloaded the tree, cut off an inch of the trunk, placed it in the stand, and transported the tree to its new home for the holidays.
The smell was delicious. The needles were green and fresh … for about a month, and then, every year, the same sad process begins. Although I faithfully watered the tree, the needles grew more brittle with each passing day. The smell was less powerful and eventually, the limbs began to wither, dry out, and turn brown. Why? The tree had been separated from its source. The same is true in our lives.
God is our source and there is no life if we are separated from Him. He will meet our every need. Our mate is not our source. Our job is not our source. Our children are not our source. God alone is our source.
As you celebrate the holidays, don’t allow anyone or anything divert your heart and mind from the eternal truth that no matter what you did or did not receive this year, no matter what you gave or were unable to give this year – God is your source. And that truth is not seasonal – it is eternal.
Father, I come to You today with a heart full of thanksgiving and praise. I am in awe of Your perfect plan that sent Your Son to earth for me. He took my sin. He paid the price I was supposed to pay for my imperfection. I don’t understand that kind of Love, God, but today I celebrate Your love and the fact that You are all I need.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
It is easy to be wrapped up in serving God instead of being wrapped up in Him. Consider the following questions and record your answers in your journal.
- According to Psalm 23, who or what am I depending on to be my source?
- What “wants” rule my life?
- Am I ready to believe the truth that, as a child of God, I lack nothing?
- Revisit the day and time when you surrendered your life to God.
- What needs did He meet in your life?
- What needs is He meeting in your life today?
More from the Girlfriends
Since each lesson stands alone, it is never too late to join Mary’s weekly online Bible Study, Light for the Journey, for practical ways to tap into the power of God’s Word. Beginning January 8, we will begin a new study, How to Hug Your Porcupine. I know you deal with pain in your life. It may be a broken relationship, chronic physical pain, the death of a dream, or the loss of someone you love. How do you deal with pain? Join Mary for a study that will change your life.