Are you team live Christmas tree or team fake Christmas tree at your house?

I’m team real Christmas tree all the way. Always have been. Always will be. I love the smell, the excitement of decorating the tree, and the process of choosing just the right tree to take home from a local Christmas tree farm (I have a whole checklist of Christmas tree requirements). I even tried to plan the birth of my second child around being able to go get our live Christmas tree as usual. 🙂

Our live Christmas tree twinkles in the corner of our living room, and it’s got me thinking about our calling to serve kids and families. As we head into Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, I hope these reminders bring you encouragement, hope, and energy as you make the final preparations for some of the biggest services of the year.

Here’s what live Christmas trees can remind us about children’s ministry: 

  • Shape – Every tree is different: short and fat, tall and skinny, rounded or triangular. (I like the tall fat ones myself). The unique shape of each Christmas tree reminds me that every church is different. Ministry looks different in every context, and the uniqueness of each context gives us freedom as leaders to focus on the ministry God has gifted to us – not to compare our ministry with others. What works for one ministry might not work for another. And that’s OK.
  • Needs watering – With a live Christmas tree, you have to water it daily or at least every couple of days if you want it to stay alive through the Christmas season. Just like your Christmas tree needs nourishment, we need nourishment as ministry leaders too. We need times of refreshment and replenishment and rest. I pray you find that time in the coming weeks as we celebrate Christmas with church communities and our own families.
  • Pine Needles – One of the biggest arguments for a fake tree I hear is that it’s not a pain to vacuum up all those pine needles from a real tree. I get it. Those pine needles get everywhere, and sometimes we’re still finding some months later. But for me, the mess is part of the beauty. Just like a pile of pine needles on the floor (and down the hall and through the door), ministry is messy. Because we serve and work with people (and because we are broken people ourselves), things don’t always go as we plan or hope. But through the brokenness, the redemption and reconciliation of Jesus shines more brightly. So if you’re going through a messy season of ministry, hang in there. This too shall pass.
  • Ornaments – Unless you have a themed tree, you probably have a wide variety of ornaments on your Christmas tree. Maybe some ornaments were made by little hands while others are a reminder of a vacation or special trip. Some mark a family milestone while others were a gift from a friend. The diversity of the ornaments reminds me of the diversity of the families we get to serve – each with their own unique story.
  • Lights – The twinkling lights might be one of my favorite parts of the Christmas tree. They remind me of the light of Jesus that lives in us and shines out into the world. Christmas lights tend to be softer, more gentle, much like the tender love of our Savior. As you look at Christmas lights on your tree this year, remember Jesus’ love for YOU and for the families you serve.
  • Smell – There’s nothing quite like the smell of a live Christmas tree, and no candle will ever come close to the real thing. It’s a fragrance that reminds me of family, of tradition, of the whole Christmas and Advent season. And it’s a fragrance that lingers. May our planning and efforts that point people to Jesus linger with our families this Christmas season, long after they’ve left the church building.

Whether your tree is real or fake, may it be a reminder of the ministry God has called you to in this season, and may you have a very Merry Christmas, kidmin leader. We’ll see you in the new year.

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