Scrooge Buys a Tree

Aspens Rime Ice

Last year just a few days after I bought a Christmas tree for my mother, it died. Its needles dried to a frank crispness, its color turned a dull sage. It shed itself onto the carpet and transformed into Charlie Brown’s original tree.

All because I had a Scrooge attitude.

When I set out on my annual quest to buy the tree, my goal, I’m embarrassed to say, was to get it over with. I had better things to do. So I entered the Christmas tree yard, stepped toward the smaller trees and quickly chose one—it was fine.

This took very little time. However, when I erected the tree, problems began. I could not get it to stand straight and steady. And once it stood in my mother’s living room its fatal flaw emerged: at its center, a big branchless gap. I shrugged, kissed my mother goodbye and headed home.

When I returned a few days later, it had died.

I blamed the tree seller—he likely didn’t cut the base to allow the water in. But inside myself, I sensed a deeper cause at work.

So today I set out with a new matrix. It is a profound lesson I have learned over many years, but grasp yet more fully now: I perform every act in service to the Beloved.

That is now my joy, my energy, my life.

When I step into the yard, a smile stretches across my face. I smell the tangy scent of pine and feel the poignancy of this tree lot.

The men and women who work here struggle with substance abuse. They live for a time at Delancey Street, a retreat in northern New Mexico, where they trade their addiction for a new life. These are people with nothing left to lose. I appreciate their humility because I too have been brought to my knees.

I walk the rows of trees, confer with a couple also looking for a six-footer. A kid with a shaggy head of sandy colored hair helps me find a narrow tree to fit by my mother’s piano. He is quiet and focused as he chainsaws the base and straps the tree to my car.

When I arrive at my mother’s I wonder how I will carry the long, bristly bundle inside, and I doubt my ability to erect it. But I call on my Beloved and within moments I’m dragging it to the door. Like a sled, it glides easily on a blanket of snow. I pull the tree inside and recognize the most challenging part is upon me. Again I ask for help, and without even thinking I put the stand on while the tree rests on its side. I tighten the screws with ease.

I take hold of the top and spring it into position. It stands straight, tall and full. It is a proud and flawless tree.

My mother wheels in on her walker and looks it up and down. Tears well in her eyes. “It’s the most beautiful tree I’ve ever seen,” she says. And I agree, knowing I did nothing but show up willing to flow the Divine current into this day.

All else was graced.

The life of service to the Divine is a life of ease. I have nothing to get and only to give. I am an empty vessel channeling a limitless power. When I am willing to act in Its name, that power provides all that I need. I don’t worry about sustenance, energy or money. All flow into my life when I am willing to flow them into the Divine creation.

In service, I am free.



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37 Responses to “Scrooge Buys a Tree”

  1. Michael D. Baggetta December 24, 2012 at 7:11 am #

    Thank you so much for sharing that incredible story today Lesley! It truly shows how our attitudes mold our realities in each moment. Your description of living a life in the service of the Divine is a gift to me today! For this I thank you. I hope you and your Mother and all your family and friends have a wonderful holiday and may all our moments be as you describe here an act in service to the Divine!

    • Lesley December 24, 2012 at 10:52 am #

      Michael, you said that so well: Our attitudes mold our realities. Coming to know the truth of this changes everything. Blessings to you and your loved ones during this holiday, dear soul.

  2. Sherida December 24, 2012 at 7:21 am #

    Beautiful….both the tree and your words. I have been working on my “servant’s heart” and will draw help from your courage. Merry Christmas!

    • Lesley December 24, 2012 at 10:54 am #

      Thank you, Sherida. That is such a sweet way to view this, as a “servant’s heart.” From the first moment I met you, you struck me as someone with a very humble way. I am sure you carry that with you in your days. And thank you for your comment on the tree. I have to concede the beauty of the decorating to my mother and her caregiver.

  3. Sherri Ohnemus December 24, 2012 at 7:46 am #

    Thank you for the beautiful Christmas gift!

    • Lesley December 24, 2012 at 10:55 am #

      Thank you for reading, Sherri.

  4. al December 24, 2012 at 7:49 am #

    Yesterday we had to go to Wal-Mart for some items – not related to Christmas. It was pouring rain and very windy. You know what? That didn’t stop the crowd of shoppers at all. I thought the weather would certainly allow us smooth sailing through our Wal-Mart experience but I was wrong…the throng of humans and stodgy parking lot traffic was formidable, so much so that I had to park 100 yards away and cover my head with my coat because of the pelting rain. Though I certainly wasn’t thinking of “service to the Divine” I had the internal presence to know that the Guide was certainly with me, that we were protected and that the Wal-Mart experience would turn out just grand. We were and it did! Who really knows the “core” of what went down at this store? My attitude was happy and carefree…that’s the real miracle, rather than upsetness at the weather or the packed store. A cool Yule to ya!

    • Lesley December 24, 2012 at 10:57 am #

      What a beautiful story, Al. It seems to me if you can carry that attitude into Wal-Mart, you can carry it anywhere.

      I so appreciate the way you talk about it as “experience.” When I can view whatever is happening as just experience, it allows just enough space for the Beloved to sneak in. Blessings, dear soul.

  5. Debra December 24, 2012 at 8:26 am #

    Lovely Channeling with the Beloved. thank you for your inspiration!


    • Lesley December 24, 2012 at 10:57 am #

      You are welcome, Debra!

  6. Theresa December 24, 2012 at 8:35 am #

    Beautiful story Lesley.. Puts things in perspective. Love reading your blog.. Wishing you a Merry and Beautiful Christmas and a Safe and Happy New Year.. Be Blessed.

    • Lesley December 24, 2012 at 10:58 am #

      Thank you for reading, Theresa. It warms my heart to know we are connected in this big world. It’s wild how things turn out. Happy Holiday to you and your loved ones.

  7. Patricia December 24, 2012 at 8:51 am #

    Thank you for the beautiful reminder Lesley…may your holidays be as you want them and the new year filled with many blessings…namaste…xox

  8. Sonja Hannon December 24, 2012 at 8:51 am #

    Beautiful! Merry Christmas to you! May I remember to always DO everything in His Name.

  9. Michael Hock December 24, 2012 at 9:53 am #

    A very beautiful story, Leslie. Thank you for sharing your devotion and clarity.

  10. Em December 24, 2012 at 10:20 am #

    Ahhhh, a heartfelt thank you for this sweet reminder….

  11. Lesley December 24, 2012 at 11:00 am #

    Thank you all for your kind and loving wishes. Sending holiday blessings back to you.

  12. Sage Kimble December 24, 2012 at 12:50 pm #

    Great story, Lesley. My contemplation today is about that very matrix: all is service. When I start fretting or grumbling I’m not doing seva, and the only way any of my creations will stand tall is do everything as service. And let The Beloved figure out the details. Much love in this deeply sacred season.

    • Lesley December 26, 2012 at 11:48 am #

      So true, Sage. We really can let the Beloved take care of the details. It can be tough to rely on this, but it has proven true for me again and again.

  13. Diane December 24, 2012 at 1:20 pm #

    Thankyou for the lesson Lesley. The day after Thanksgiving my son & his fiance went and bought 2 trees; one for them and one for me. Having been long distance truckers they were very excited about celebrating Christmas since it had been years for both of them since they had been home for this holiday. They lovingly picked out the trees, bought stands, joyfully brought the trees home, cut the base and attached the stands, even added a special substance to the water to help keep the trees alive. Everything was done in the finest spirit. My reaction was negative. It was too soon, I preferred a tree I could later plant, the trees will die before Christmas, etc. Although I made sure they knew their efforts were appreciated, I was a grinch. I grudgingly decorated the tree, which was a beauty. I didn’t tell them that I really had no interest in even having a tree. They happily decorated theirs. We both faithfully watered the trees with the special solution. Both trees dried up and died. We both have droopy, brown trees shedding needles all over the floors. Usually I am a positive person, looking on the bright side of things, but boy oh boy did you nail me on this! I appreciate the lesson. I can’t help the trees at this point, but I can make the most of what I have so I will turn the lights on and pretend my tree is green and enjoy it for this day, and seriously contemplate how to not ruin any more trees with my attitude ever again. 🙂

    • Lesley December 24, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

      Diane, pardon me for laughing as I read your post, but I so relate. There is absolutely nothing we can do with the dead trees of our lives except light them up and appreciate the live image instead. It is so easy for those of us who celebrate our own soul as deliverer to turn Grinch during this time. Truly as you say, the only way is to watch our attitude and give our Divine love.

      • Diane December 25, 2012 at 9:07 am #

        Well, the little tree is lit and happy, and my attitude adjustment is still in place. Merry Christmas!

  14. Cynthia December 24, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

    ,Ah , tears to the eyes. Practicing the Presence, so simple, so easily forgotten

  15. Jamie December 24, 2012 at 3:00 pm #

    Thank you Lesley for sharing your story and transformation. I absolutely love the perfect matrix that you set, “I perform every act in service to the Beloved. That is now my joy, my energy, my life.” Thank you for this gift! Years ago, I was in a Jamba Juice store and saw a book that I thought said “Living God,” yet when I took a closer look I noticed it said “Living Good.” But I knew the message for me was to “Live God.” I have contemplated what Living God means many times, and for me it is simple, living God is living Love. When I do everything within love I am blessed, and all with which I come into contact is blessed as well. Love is always the answer, love is always the path and love is all that we truly need. May your holidays be filled with love and easy remembrance to return to love when mind strays. Blessing to you sweet Soul. xoxo

    • Lesley December 26, 2012 at 11:51 am #

      That is such a simple way of bringing the idea of service into action, Jamie. When our intent is to give love, we are riding the Divine current home. Sending holiday blessings back to you, dear soul.

  16. Lori Goetz December 24, 2012 at 3:28 pm #

    This tree has brought tears to my eyes as well…Thank you for the beautiful reminder that all is sacred when our view point is centered on our Beloved. Sharing your own experience is so incredibly helpful and uplifting for me, thank you!
    Much love and many blessings to you Leslie

  17. Sheila December 24, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

    A great story and very similar to one my recently departed Dad wrote about the frustration he had putting up his Christmas lights one year until he began communing with his ideal, Jesus the Christ. I will share it with you when I procure a copy.
    much love and may the blessings be now!

  18. deborah Helm December 24, 2012 at 4:40 pm #

    WHAT A BEAUTIUL CHRITMAS MESSAGE.. EVERYTHING IS ATTITUDE… This is exaxcty what I am working on Bigtime.. I really appreciated the beautiful story…

  19. Susan Stoffer December 24, 2012 at 4:53 pm #

    Beautiful said…awareness of attention & attitude…setting the matrix…enjoying being of service…many blessings on your journey of soul, Leslie …and many thanks for sharing !

  20. facebook_logan.joel.7 December 26, 2012 at 10:29 am #

    Such a beautiful story, and I appreciate the divine interpretation, how you can channel this in a uniquely sublime way. “An empty vessel” How lovely! Not an overnight occurrence either, it takes a lot of letting go and deep trust for this to be.
    The interesting thing is channeling Divine Truths goes hand in hand with becoming/being and empty vessel, once IT (The Flow) comes through whatever there is that does not serve us anymore (whether we know it or not) such as old attitudes or perspectives are washed away in a such a gentle way we can’t even remember these old things until in a moment we catch our selves saying “I use to do that, or feel that way” then we just chuckle it off in thankfulness to our Love.
    As always thank you for flowing. You are doing a great service for many others and for yourself as well.
    Much Love…LJ 🙂 <3

    • Lesley December 26, 2012 at 11:56 am #

      Logan, that is a great reminder, the way that the attitude of service washes away our old ideals and concepts. And truly, that is why we are here to empty this vessel so that the Divine clarity can flow through unhindered. Thank you, dear friend, for expanding on the concepts here.

      And thank all of you for doing so as well. There are so many bright moments in these comments today–far too many for me to address, but I take each in and radiate yet more love as they alight inside me.

  21. Rudy Anderson December 27, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

    As always, this is a beautiful lesson, Lesley. I read this post many days ago and the phrase “I am an empty vessel channeling a limitless power” stuck in my mind. It seemed to sell yourself short. I think of you as anything but an empty vessel. But as I considered your deeper message, I see the beauty of being the wire that transports the electrical charge. It carries none of its own but is perfect in its delivery of power. If it were anything else, it would be stealing from the purity of the flow. This is you, or at least your greatest desire — to be a channel, a vessel with no wish or capacity to retain or detain the awesome power that flows through. And the fact that It is truly limitless leaves one filled even as they give. It is a beautiful image you have struck here and I appreciate the inspired posts that always leave me contemplating. Thank you for your generosity.

    • Lesley December 27, 2012 at 4:50 pm #

      Rudy, thank you for again bringing me back to that image of the empty vessel or, your beautiful metaphor, an electrical wire. Such clarity comes when I let go of my agendas and simply open to let the love flow through. The more I recognize this, the more true it becomes and the more I know I have nothing to fear. You embody this notion very well, dear friend.

  22. Liza Shone December 28, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

    Thank you for this post. I had such fun decorating this year. My subtle ego was keeping me from enjoying life. I can enjoy everything – pleasure, pain it’s all just what I need.

    • Lesley December 30, 2012 at 7:33 am #

      Liza, thank you for joining in. Yes, it is really something to watch the ego, in whatever form, attempt to inhibit our joy. I too had the realization over the holiday that it doesn’t really matter what I do so much as how I do it. I can always act in love.

  23. Diane Murray August 29, 2013 at 11:24 pm #

    Thank you for this beautiful post. It’s now well past Christmas 2012 and will soon be coming around again. I resonated so deeply with your experience. This took me back to 1991 when I’d just ended a 10-year relationship with a “genuine” pseudo guru with messianic tendencies. It was the time of my mid-life crisis and I had hit bottom. Joy had been abandoned along with love and kindness in those ten years. Only cynicism and bitterness remained. After vacating our apartment, I landed in a senior home-share situation, occupying the spare bedroom in a nice condo.

    As the holidays approached the senior lady (I’ll call her Betty) wanted me to get her pre-lit artificial tree from storage. I flatly refused, saying that I would buy a “real” tree. One delay led to another and Christmas was just around the corner. I still had not purchased a tree and Betty kept asking for hers. So with grudging reluctance I retrieved the artificial tree and box of decorations. The tree was tall and skinny, not my idea of how a tree should be shaped. When I opened the box of decorations my mind sneered. There were no bright, shiny balls or fancy decorations…just a collection of home made ornaments. I thought them clumsy and cheap looking.

    Betty sat in her chair in the living room while I set up the tree and plugged in the lights. She asked me to hand the ornaments to her one at a time. As she held each ornament tenderly she told a story of who had made it and what it meant to her. She then handed the ornament to me and I hung it on the tree. In a short time I experienced an inflow of humility that still brings tears to my eyes. Every few minutes I excused myself from the room on some pretext (bathroom break, drink of water) so she would not see me weeping. I was still too proud to show Betty how my heart was melting. She wasn’t fooled though. On some later occasion she kindly referred to that time when I kept leaving the room.

    When we finished decorating the tree it was just beautiful and love hung from each and every branch. We know how the Scrooge story ends. He opens to love as you did…as I did eventually. By a long and circuitous route, my brief stay with Betty put me on the path leading directly to our Beloved, the source of infinite love, forgiveness, joy. There’s no going back. Your “Scrooge Buys a Tree” post served as a loving reminder.

    • Lesley August 30, 2013 at 8:25 am #

      What a beautiful story of humility, Diane. I am smiling right now as I recognize yet again how perfectly orchestrated are each of our experiences, down to each and every ornament brought before us. Thank you for sharing this lovely story. I am deeply touched.

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