While Richard’s dad was alive, our family would gather for Christmas in an accessory building we lovingly called “The Pool House.” We still call it that, even though there is no pool. Eventually, I intend to make it into a chapel. But right now, I’m cleaning and preparing it to become our temporary home for when we begin the remodeling construction on the main house. We hadn’t used it for Christmas for the past two years, so everything was sitting there building dust and drawing in all kinds of creepy crawlers. Still sitting there was the Christmas tree. My father-in-law loved sparkling things, just like I do, and this tree was no exception; it has glitter and snow. There was no way for me to take it down without getting covered with the glitter, but I did it, and just as I thought, I got glitter and snow everywhere.
Two lessons come from my experience. The first one is that if something sits too long with no activity, dust and grime will build up, and creatures will inhabit it. Compare this to wondering away from God for a time; sin will creep in and take over, and you will slowly become filthy. The second one is that if you touch something like the glittered Christmas tree, it will get on you. The lesson of the tree is like delving into things God has told us to stay away from; when you touch it, it sticks to you! There is a price to pay for turning your back on him, but thankfully, even though we wander away from him for a bit, he will call us back. Turn to him and repent; he will wash you up and let you come back home.
Go, and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, “‘Return, faithless Israel, declares the LORD. I will not look on you in anger, for I am merciful, declares the LORD; I will not be angry forever. Only acknowledge your guilt, that you rebelled against the LORD your God and scattered your favors among foreigners under every green tree, and that you have not obeyed my voice, declares the LORD. Jeremiah 3:12-13