For some inexplicable reason I love my Christmas tree. Every year we traipse out somewhat close to my birthday (December 9th) to find the perfect one. We walk around dozens of trees coming back time after time to one or two that “might fit” wondering if it will look horrible once we get it inside….worrying all to no avail since every year it is “just right” and beautiful.
Some years I find myself twirling the lights around by myself or putting finishing touches by myself. Other years I have more help that I can deal with graciously. The standing back taking it all in squinting session is always fun …making sure there are no holes in the lighting and everything looks just right. Each ornament has to hang just right…not lying on a branch so it can’t dangle amidst the glittering balsam. Each year we buy or make one ornament for each of the children (and one for us as a couple). Sometimes the ornament speaks back to the year before. An ornament in memory of a beloved pet, one made in Sunday School for mom with a child’s scratchy printing or funny picture of when they were younger, years and years of fun and sweet ornaments to put on the tree year after year. Then one year several ornaments were missing…one child left and started their own tree with their ornaments. Each year or so more and more ornaments were missing…it seemed like we still always had enough ornaments. What memories each one holds. Stockings each year with an ornament hanging out the top…little fingers hanging it awkwardly on our beautiful tree each Christmas morning. Every year…every tree…listening as it were to the real story of Christmas. Mom reading tear jerker stories of families celebrating Christmas, Dad reading Christmas morning before opening gifts from Luke 2 and thanking Jesus for coming and the Father for sending His Son for us.
As I take the tree down this year, well into the new year 2015, I am thinking back to the dozens of trees we have had…each one different and holey in its own way…imperfect yet perfect for us. Never the same. Hours of putting up, taking down, decorating, re-fixing…rehanging ornaments, placing presents just right under the tree each year, listening to squeals of laughter, wiping tears on soft little cheeks, sleeping under boughs once each year in order to enjoy the lights all night long and the love and companionship of loved ones and family….these are all reasons I love my Christmas tree. O Christmas Tree. I can’t wait for next December just to pick that next one.
I often wonder if Allen goes before I do how I’ll do it. I never have wanted to have a fake one…an artificial one…there’s enough fake and artificial in the world. Even when my allergies to pine acted up…I was more willing to get my sudafed out and enjoy. Bringing a little bit of the forest inside for a month seems so silly…but it speaks to my soul. It reminds me of other trees. The one which made the cradle for a baby boy from Heaven, the one that became the cross where He died 33 years later…and many trees inbetween in my life. One REAL tree growing up where it was potted and in the spring we planted it in the front yard…now 30+ feet tall in a small town in New York. I love trees. I had a Grandma and Grandpa tree in CT because I never had a Grandma and Grandpa. A walk in the woods…in December….in my living room…for a month.
O Christmas tree…you are a bright spot in this life. You give beauty in years when there is little or none. You give hope when there is no hope. You remind me of the real reason for Christmas when there is no reason to celebrate. I love my Christmas Tree…see you again soon…in a different wood…with a different aroma…with different branches…and different wood…but the same joy and the same emotions…
So if Allen goes before me I will still get a real tree…for me…for the years of memories…for the tree.