The Year of the Perfect Christmas

“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” (II Corinthians 9:15 NIV)

I have always loved the children’s book The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston. It is the true story of a mother and her daughter, Ruthie, trying to survive in Appalachia while the father fought in WWI.

They were responsible for providing the Christmas tree for their church that year, and Ruthie was to be the angel in the Christmas play. There seemed no way to provide a tree, a costume, and presents, yet the mother persevered and sacrificed.

The summer before, Ruthie and her father had chosen the perfect tree to be used for the church Christmas program. With the father gone to war, Ruthie and her mother took their sled out late at night. They chopped down the tree and brought it back to the church. Into the early morning hours, the mother cut up her wedding dress to make a Christmas doll and angel costume for Ruthie. A happy ending came when the father returned home for Christmas.

I find some similarities between this story and my life. Holidays are very difficult when dealing with chronic pain and illness. I don’t see how I can possibly do everything, and of course I can’t. I don’t have the abilities I had before, but God shows me ways to be creative with what I possess. Perhaps I cannot buy all the gifts or do all the cooking that I would like, but whatever I give are offerings of love. If I do what I can with a thankful attitude, how much more enjoyable it will be.

Just as the father came home in the story, so on Christmas Eve we celebrate the coming of our Lord to earth for us – the real meaning of Christmas. By God’s grace, this year can be our year of the perfect Christmas – perhaps not perfect by our old standards, but perfect by His, if we keep focused on what is truly important.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to make the most of what You’ve given me this season, not dwelling on my limitations. Remind me that Your birth makes my Christmas perfect. Amen.

Bronlynn Spindler is a wife and mother of three grown daughters and lives in Fredericksburg, VA. God’s grace and strength give her the ability to deal with chronic back pain, depression, headaches, and fibromyalgia. You may view her blog of devotionals at and contact her at spindler@….