Have you seen a Charlie Brown Christmas? If you haven’t it is one of the most epic Christmas movies ever! Well Damian Chandler in his new book The Crooked Christmas Tree pours that epic experience onto the page. Pastor Damien delivers a powerful testimony that pits his will vs. his family’s, and ultimately God’s will.
I found the heart of the story to be akin to 1 Samuel 16:7 “Man looks at the outside, but God looks at the heart.” This humorous narrative tells of a Christmas tree his kids picked out and he struggled to accept but ultimately had to pay for. Wonderful lessons are woven throughout this story but these lessons are less about Christmas trees, and more about us. It communicates the truth that tho we are not worthy of much, the one who created us purchased us for the highest price. He saw our worth even in the midst of our crooked behavior. The message is clear. Jesus was born to redeem all of us crooked trees, and take our broken places and making them beautiful.
I noticed the lack of chapter numbers through the book, and thought it lent well to the sense of a continual narrative. The short sections makes It is easy to read and comprehend for the reader who doesn’t have a long attention span.
One of the chapters that really caught my attention was the one attributed to his wife and mother. He revealed the contrast and similarities between the two women he loved the most. His wife and mother do not like to throw things away. Rather they repurpose things for new uses. As a result the tree was decorated the kind of unique and repurposed ornaments that reminded me of an episode of Sanford and Son.
Each scene allows us into Damian thoughts. He stands afar off with the tree in one view and his family in another still angry at himself for having purchased it. But as he sees the love with which his kids decorate the tree he reflects on the love God has for him. He says, “Heaven does not wait till you get everything right, till you find a way to straighten your crooked branches.