“Why Christmas Trees Aren’t Perfect” by Richard H. Schneider is a sweet tale of generosity, compassion, selflessness, and love.
I recently picked up this book from our church library. The title caught my eye because my 6 year old daughter is a perfectionist and I’m always looking for ways to relate to her that no one except God is perfect, and that she doesn’t have to be.
This is a beautiful story! All of the trees in the evergreen forest want to be the perfect tree in order to have the honor of being chosen by the Queen. They need to have the best shape, perfect branches, and no gaps. One small pine wants the same of course, and had worked hard to be the best it could be, but ends up sacrifices its perfect shape and the possibility to earn a place of prestige in order to help others.
Small Pine provided a hiding place for a rabbit being chased by wild dogs, cover for a mother bird lost in the storm, and nourishment for a hungry young fawn separated from his mother. In return, the pine received drooping and ragged branches with gaps in between.
Feeling that it had no hope of being chosen by the Queen, the young pine was surprised when the Queen recognized its flaws and knew the sacrifice that had been made, so she choose that tree to take home.
To be sure, it is an example of putting others before ourselves, but it is also a lesson that God uses the things we consider flaws to provide blessings to others. I love that this story teaches that kindness to others is better than trying to gain glory for ourselves. Putting others first is something that we know God wants us to do, but can also be hard to life out practically. This teaches children that they will be rewarded for putting others first, just as we know we will be rewarded in Heaven for our love of others on Earth.
My eyes teared up as I read the last page of the book where it says, “For, as have many of us, the trees have learned that living for the sake of others makes us most beautiful in the eyes of God.”
I will absolutely be purchasing our own copy of this book and I look forward to reading it to my daughter for years and years to come! This is definitely a keeper for generations to come.