The Most Beautiful Tree

“This is the most beautiful Christmas tree I have ever seen,” I thought as I walked into the Hope House that ordinary, Tuesday night. I don’t know what captivated me, really. It was more like a beautiful mess; different colored lights, patches with a lot of lights and ornaments, patches with very little… But still. I couldn’t stop looking at it. 

I kept looking at the tree, along with many of the other girls. For some, it was probably their first time ever seeing a Christmas tree with lights. I went to go take a photo of the tree, so I could post it and talk about how beautiful it was. But before I could get a clear photo, “Y” jumped in and wanted a picture with the tree. This one picture turned into 130 pictures, with the girls and the tree, in my camera roll (I just counted); some of them with their hands held up in a peace sign, others with nervous laughter and the inability to stand still, some with a straight, stoic face, some a sweet, simple smile, and then many group photos with all of the above. 

I finally had to put an end to the fun. Bedtime was coming near and putting 50 girls to bed is no walk in the park, let me tell you. As they got ready, I kept looking at the tree. I began to think of all the different sections and it made me think of the diversity, or sections, we had with the girls in the Hope House. 

At the top, we have the bright, white lights. You can’t miss them. They blink off and on, and are wrapped primarily around this part of the tree. This section represents the outgoing, can’t-miss-em, full-of-life girls, or as we call them, the “Littles.” Many of them are new to the Hope House and they have added such an incredibly fun atmosphere, but they also keep you on your toes. You definitely see them, hear them and know they are there when they run up to you, hug you, and sometimes snuggle you. They are the life-of-the-party most of the time. 

The next section, at first, you don’t notice the lights. You have to get real close to the tree before you notice that they’re there. They aren’t in your face, they aren’t bright, but they are there and they do add significance to the tree. We have some girls in the Hope House who are very, very quiet. Many times, you don’t notice them. Not because they are unnoticeable, but because they are so darn quiet! But these girls are there, and many times if you listen, if you pay close attention you can see the beauty they have, but aren’t so quick to reveal to the world. These girls add just as much beauty to the home, as the fire-crackers mentioned above.

At the bottom, we have the consistently shining, colored lights. They aren’t bright or in your face, like the top lights, but they are there and you know they are there without having to get very close up. Many of these “lights” are the older girls. The girls with more experience and time in the Hope House; they are very consistent, they help you out when you are feeling like clueless gringa, and they ensure that others are following the rules. Many of these girls know the Bible better than I do and they love God with all their heart. They show up, you can count on them, and they add just as much value to the house as the other two types of “lights.” 

When you bring it all together, you have the most incredible house full of the most incredible girls. It’s diverse. Different stories, different personalities, different actions, different looks, but the same value and worth to their Creator and to the missionaries and staff of the Hope House. The Hope House, relating back to the tree, is the most beautiful house. Not because it’s a state-of-the-art facility or because it’s modern, but because of what it consists of. It’s the most beautiful house, because it is the home to 50 of the most beautiful “lights” you have ever seen. Whether bright, dim, or colored, these lights will captivate you, they will change you, and they will add such an incredible amount of value to your life. 

I would know, they did it to me.