out of the box

I know it’s not a big thing, but decorating for Christmas is something we don’t look forward to. When it’s done, it’s fine. Getting to it is a challenge.

One of the pieces of dread is the Christmas tree.

For several years we cut our own or purchased a precut one. Every year, Nancy stayed away from the garage while I got the tree into the stand. It was always a challenge. I could never get it straight. I got frustrated with the imperfections of the branches, with the poor balance, with how hard it was to make a straight cut with cold hands and an unpracticed saw.

I dreaded that process, that feeling of powerlessness.

Eventually, we bought a fake tree. It works well. It looks nice. But it didn’t eliminate all of my dread.

We store our tree in the attic. The ladder is steep. The hole is narrow. The tree box is, shall we say, flexible.

Every year I have battled to get the box down and battled to get the box up. There are gouges in the sides of the box. There have been bruised knuckles. There have been expressions of frustration.

Saturday was the day. I needed to get the process of decorating started. I was on the ladder, handing things to Andrew. All the boxes were down. It was time to move the tree. I pulled the big box closer. I prepared to wrestle it down.

And then, I grabbed one of the three sections of the tree and handed it to Andrew. I realized that if I handed the pieces down one at a time, there would be no bruised knuckles, no frustration.

That’s what “out of the box” thinking looks like. Simple practical solutions to feelings of dread.

So what’s your example?


That ringing sound? It’s my virtual Red Kettle.  But it’s okay to give at the office.


3 responses to “out of the box

  1. Having been to college and seminary and having studied systematic theology, I have seen the theological boxes people have used to define God. I love it when He does something that outside of the boxes – when He acts according to His nature and not our expectations. When we think outside the box, we are a reflectiion of the One who created us.

  2. i broke god out of the box.
    and let three forms exist
    and to use them in my life in simple ways

    instead of thinking “let me get through this trip” (recent vacation)
    i broke it down

    “give me strength to not fall apart driving out of this rental car lot.”

    “please help me remember i have a safe place to drive to” ( place the number and address on the seat next to me)

    “help me stay in the present, i am not fifteen and terrified. Help me walk away.Take my hand and we’ll walk away”

    “i’m afraid. please stay near me right now. I need to make breakfast for the kids. Help me be strong so they can feel safe this morning.”

    I understand God better when I keep him with me during the small battles. It’s the Holy Spirit for me then. with the constant reminder “it’s okay. Breathe. you’re not alone”

  3. tom and kat
    you would, i think, talk well together.
    You did here.
    kat you describe
    what tom said to do.
    let God out of the box.

    thank you for being my friends.