You're The One I Want!
By: Renee Swope

Christmas was only days away and we still didn't have a tree. Living on a college-student's budget with our first child on the way made it hard to justify spending $25-$50 on something we wanted, but didn't really need. Yet, with each passing day, my husband J.J. and I wondered what Christmas would be like without a decorated tree.

Even though it seemed trivial, I told God how sad I felt that we couldn't afford a tree. Then I felt guilty since there were so many people who needed much more than we did. I knew telling God would make me feel better, and I hoped He wouldn't think that asking for a tree was a selfish request. So, I asked and God provided. On the way home from church the Sunday before Christmas we saw a sign at a nearby tree lot announcing that all trees were reduced to $10!

As soon as my husband came home from work Monday evening, we hurried to the lot. There were only a few rows of trees to choose from, and I wanted the perfect one. So we walked down each row to find just the right spruce to fit in the corner of our one-bedroom apartment. Unfortunately, I lingered too long in indecision. The sun went down quickly, the spotlights turned off and the lot was suddenly dark. Here we were with our $10, and several trees to choose from, but we couldn't see any of them.

My creative, (and very patient,) husband decided to pull our car into the rows of trees and turn on his high beams. The bright lights broke through the darkness and standing right in front of me was the most precious little tree I had ever seen. Although it had some droopy branches and a gap on one side, I knew it was the tree for me. I pointed my finger and said, "That's the one I want!"

Since a pregnant woman will bond with almost anything, I immediately connected with that cute little spruce pine. That night I sat on the couch looking at it, grateful for not only the tree, but for the tangible reminder of God's concern for both the big and little things that matter to me.

I thought about how sad I felt earlier when the darkness made it impossible to see the Christmas trees. Then the beams of light illuminated the lot, and my heart filled with hope again. Etched in my mind was a picture I would never forget, an image that drew me back to another time marked by darkness.

It was a time when I was not the one choosing, but the one who needed to be chosen. For nearly 20 years I had searched for someone, or something, that would make me feel valuable.

Just when I thought all hope was gone, God's light pierced the shadows surrounding my heart and illuminated His love into my life. It happened on another winter's eve when my Heavenly Daddy looked at me and said, "That's the one I want!"

At some point in our lives, each of us can identify with that little tree. Scarred by disappointments, we wonder if anyone will ever choose us. With gaps that mark us as candidates for rejection, we hope others won't see the holes in our hearts. Like my little spruce, it seems the only way we'll ever get chosen is if all the "good" ones are picked first.

Christmas is the time when God invites us to pause and remember that He chose to send His Son to light our darkness. First Peter 2:9 reminds us that we are chosen too: "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light" (NIV). God has chosen us, and called us His own.

That spruce pine and I had a lot in common, and to this day, many years later, it's still my favorite Christmas tree!

Renee Swope is a speaker for Proverbs 31 Ministries. For a list of her topics or for more information about scheduling her for an event, visit her blog at

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