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I have one Christmas tree that I have not yet put away. It is the one in my bedroom. I love that tree. When February comes, I turn it into a valentine tree, swapping out the Christmas ornaments for pink hearts and teddy bears. It is beautiful, and I hate when I have to take it down.

Last night, I went up to my room and immediately noticed something new had been added to the tree. It was a duck. It was a freshly hand painted duck that my four year old had talked me into letting her spend her money on at the Dollar Store earlier that day. I had reluctantly agreed to let her buy it because paint projects right before dinner, or anytime for that matter, are not my favorite. I had explained to her that if she got this duck, mom was the one who would end up cleaning up a giant paint mess. She was undeterred in her passion to buy it, so I relented and let her spend her dollar on it.

After helping her set up her paint station, waiting for her to paint, cleaning her hands, washing the red paint out of her hair, and cleaning off the table, the duck was finished. It was painted in red, yellow and blue splotches, and drying on the counter.

I didn’t give it another thought, and I proceeded to make dinner.

So needless to say, after the girls were all in bed and I went up to my room, I was not prepared to see that duck hanging on my valentine tree.

christmas tree

When I saw it…I got a lump in my throat and immediately began to blink back tears. My heart was so overwhelmed with love for my tiny blond girl. The thought struck me that I don’t know that I’ve ever seen such a beautiful ornament. I took it off, and wrote her name and age on the bottom before hanging the duck back on the tree. I just stared at it and thought about the fact that at some point down the road, I’ll be throwing this beautiful tree away. The lights will burn out. The bears will probably be given away. But that duck…that’s my treasure. It moved me to tears and nearly broke my heart with love. Why? Because it is valuable? No. It was one dollar. Because it was masterfully painted? Not even close. I treasure it because my little love did that for me, out of love for her mommy. She spent her dollar on a duck. She worked hard painting it and offered up to me the messy little work of her hands, from her heart, and I couldn’t love anything more. And in that moment, I thought about the Father. I thought about the ways that we wear ourselves out, thinking we have to do big things for Him, that we have to do great things for Him.That our simple, unseen lives are not enough. But we forget that He is our Father. And when we just love Him, and from our hearts, offer up the messy little work of our hands, his huge heart breaks with love for us. He is moved. We don’t have to be the best. We don’t have to be the most successful, or well known. Those things are more for us than for Him. He wants our hearts. Those are the things he keeps forever. Our sincere worship. Our sincere love. Not our perfection. Not our biggest successes in our own eyes. Just our hearts, postured in love towards His. Therein lies our success, our greatness. Because to move the heart of the Living God…is more than enough.

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