The Griswold Family Christmas
It’s been said of us preachers that we are always looking for a message in our weekly encounters with people and life. I don’t think I actually tick like that, but what I have found is that in everything I do in a given week I am finding a new message popping up. So the other day I took the family on an excursion to find ‘the perfect tree’ for our new Oregon Christmas tradition – which is actually an old tradition of ours that I decided to revive since we haven’t had a real tree for over 10 years and we now live in a forest! (Okay, it was Amy’s idea, but any great Christmas idea I claim as mine) I first thought I was going to stop by a roadside vendor, find the great tree, buy a stand and bring it home. The more vendors I drove by, the more I wanted an experience. So, I Googled tree farms in the greater Portland area and had an ‘ahah!’ moment. I discovered there was a tree farm just 8 miles from where we live. Not to mention, the farm is actually in the coastal mountain range! With my eyes gleaming and nostrils flaring, the spirit of Clark Griswold came upon me. I was going to cut this tree down myself and find the greatest tree ever!
After 15 minutes of driving up the side of a mountain and feeling the back tires slipping on the dirt road, I could see in Amy’s eyes she was thinking, “Clark? Where are you taking us?” Then there it was. A whole mountainside of trees, trees and more trees! I had arrived at the pinnacle of tree-dom! As I stepped out of the car, you could smell the pine. However the smell quickly faded as I realized I forgot some necessary things like gloves, a saw, bailing rope for tying the tree down, a tarp on the roof so the car didn’t get scratched, boots for the muddy ground and cash to pay for the tree. As my mind was racing, we were quickly approached by a guy in suspenders and work boots that took one look at us and said, "New here huh?" To which Amy quickly responded, “Yah! How could you tell? We’re from Texas." Sorry to my Texas readers, but saying you’re from Texas here covers a multitude of sins! It was then that the guy confessed to being a Longhorns fan, so we won his favor. He supplied us with a saw, gloves and sent us on our way. In 10 minutes we found the tree, a 7 foot Noble. It was beautiful. A ray of light shone from the heavens and shone on it too. Ok not really. We took pictures of our prize and then I began sawing it down.
After 15 minutes of sawing the tree my arm began to shake. I quickly switched to my left hand and sawed for 2 more minutes before that arm shook. I tried sawing in various positions any yoga instructor would have been proud of, but the fact remained – I had only cut into the trunk about 3 inches. I figured 3 inches was enough that I could probably pull the tree over with my brute force…but no-go. The trunk of the tree was huge. I was left with facing the obvious. This is bigger than me. Andria picked up the saw and started in, but ended up cutting herself. Amy was staring at me with the, ‘What now Clark?’ look so I walked back to the top of the hill and told them my plight. To which the guy said, “Oh yah, for the wider trees we use a chainsaw." Gee, thanks. They cut it down, shook it out, twined it up, put a stand on it and loaded it in my trunk for less than the price of a tank of gas. And it was payable by check! It was a win all around.
So the message I got? Simple. Pursue your dream…but you’ll find it’s bigger than you. You won’t have all the answers and there’s some things you can’t prepare enough for, but don’t sweat that stuff. You may not know anyone when you get to the mountain, but you’ll end up finding a Longhorns fan who can help you accomplish what you are wanting to do. Give it what you’ve got, but when you get stuck, help is there. The bigger the challenge conquered, the more memories made! I like what the Apostle Paul said, ‘But thanks be to God who always causes us to triumph’.
Have a go-for-it week!