With Christmas quickly approaching we had to find a tree. There was urgency because our daughter and son-in-law were coming over tomorrow to help decorate. You can’t decorate something that isn’t there. Off we headed into the woods in search of “the tree” it had to be the perfect tree. Each years tree was in competition with former years to be the perfect tree.
Scott spotted a beautiful tree as soon as we entered the cutting area. It was uniformly shaped and frosted with new fallen snow though the snow didn’t cause any branches to droop. It was just right and we were short on time. We had many things to accomplish.
Scott downed the tree with just enough struggle to make it worthwhile. He had the tree loaded in record time and we headed back home pleased with ourselves.
The pleasure was short lived when we discovered that the tree we choose was not a soft “friendly Fir” but a pokey “spiny Spruce”. Trying to settle the tree into the stand required thick gloves and long sleeves so as to not draw blood.
It was painful to admit we had brought home a beautiful but dangerous tree. But even more painful was decorating it. Each reach into its private space had to be calculated. I now have personal experience regarding how they acquired the name “needles” for with each ornament placement I drew back a wounded hand sometimes even drawing blood.
This experience was a vivid example of attempting to survive the holiday season when I was deep in my grief. Each time I would attempt to enter into a tradition it pricked my heart. Tears betrayed my wound causing me to retreat back into my protective shell. Christmas hurt but it wasn’t Christmas that caused the tears, it was memories of Christmas’ past.
When I look away from the glittering lights and packages under the tree and focus on the nativity scene, the reason for the season, my joy returns. Christmas began in a stable in Bethlehem. Jesus’ birth was page one of the plan of redemption. Focusing on the true reason for this season I became able to celebrate.
What I celebrated was not the gift giving, carol singing or cookie baking but the birth of Jesus. Jesus is the man of sorrows acquainted with grief but first he had to be born.
Have a BLESSED CHRISTMAS DAY.