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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Trees (12/05/05)

TITLE: One Pricey Deal
By Venice Kichura


Just about everything is more pricey for those of us who live in Connecticut. A trip to the grocery store cost almost twice as much as when we lived down south. The price of our old southern homestead won’t buy a shack here in what’s been pegged the wealthiest state in the nation. And, kenneling Fido for a week can be just as expensive as an airline ticket.

That is….. Everything but Christmas trees. When we moved up here six years ago I finally got my way. After three decades of campaigning for a real tree, my practical, thrifty (to put it nicely) engineer husband finally broke down and bought the “real McCoy” when he discovered he could get one for only $25. That was about 1/3 of what we paid in the south. So for the first time in 32 Christmases, our old, artificial tree remained packed up in its box.

Not only did my husband agree to a real one, but when he learned he could save $5 by chopping down his own tree, he grabbed his ax and off we went to the tree farm. (I have to tell you that we have the longest, steepest driveway on our block and yet, we‘re the only fools who still shovel snow. No snow blowers for us. And we also spend every weekend in October raking leaves, even though we have more trees than anyone else.)

“Why waste money on snow blowers and leaf blowers,” says my husband. So why was I surprised when he insisted on cutting down our own tree?

Once home, the challenge was squeezing our thick, 8-foot tree through the front door, and up the stairs of our two-story raised-ranch home. After scratching both stairway walls (as well as scraping our hands), we finally plopped it in a living room corner, sore and spent.

But I had to admit our house smelled like Christmas for the first time in 32 years of marriage. Then as we marked off the calendar days, anticipating Christmas Day, the dead pine needles daily fell off our tree. I couldn’t wait until New Year’s, so I took down the dying tree after Christmas before my living room looked like the stable where baby Jesus was born.

The dead tree stalk and our old vacuum cleaner (destroyed by clogged pine needles) laid side-by-side on our front lawn swale to be picked up by a city garbage truck.

So we didn’t save any money on a Christmas tree that year, as that “bargain” real tree actually cost us $175 after we invested in a new vacuum cleaner. And we vowed never to take advantage of another Christmas tree “deal” even if trees were given away free.

Looking back, I realized we didn’t use our God-given common sense.
Why didn’t we station the tree on the downstairs vinyl floor (rather than on our upstairs living room carpet)? This would have not only have spared our vacuum cleaner, but we wouldn’t have had to drag it up the stairs, also saving the paint job on our walls. And, of course, we should have watered it every day so it wouldn’t have dried out so soon.

Yes, my old artificial tree will do just fine this year, as well as all the other Christmases to come. That’s not to say that artificial trees are better or vice versa. It’s a personal choice.

But there’s one issue about Christmas trees that shouldn’t be a choice. And that is…. Let’s all remember they’re called Christmas tree----not holiday trees. Go ahead, get any size or type of trees you desire, but just keep calling them Christmas trees---despite what the secular media preaches about religious tolerance. (And please don’t tell me to “have a nice holiday”. If you do, I’ll tell you to have a MERRY CHRISTMAS!)

That’s right, they’re Christmas trees. If that’s offensive to anyone, then may I remind you that Jesus, Himself, said, “I am the rock of offense.”* When all the packages are opened, the only lasting gift is that which He gave us----Our salvation.

What’s more, it’s a free gift! Jesus didn’t look for a “deal” when it came to us. He paid the ultimate price---His very life on Calvary’s Tree. That was one pricey deal---our rags for His riches!

*“As it is written, Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” (KJV) Romans 9:33

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Member Comments
Member Date
Brandi Roberts12/12/05
There's a lot in here! Well written, altho it got somewhat bunchy at the end. Thanks for sharing!
Marilyn Schnepp 12/12/05
Terrific! Fantastico! Beautimous! What else can I say? I loved you calling your husband "thrifty"..ahem.(?) (Chuckle, chuckle)
I loved the lessons you learned. But most of all I loved what you said about "Happy Holidays VS Merry CHRISTmas"...Way to Go!
Very well written to boot! You have a Merry CHRISTmas! and God Bless.
Jan Ackerson 12/14/05
Nice job, written with warmth and wit. Thanks!
Sandra Petersen 12/16/05
Your article had some nice humor in it, and I appreciated that. This almost sounded like something you could share at a Christian women's luncheon. Your final point was well made. The final line was beautiful, makes me appreciate Christ's sacrifice even more, and humbles me at the same time: "Jesus didn’t look for a “deal” when it came to us. He paid the ultimate price---His very life on Calvary’s Tree. That was one pricey deal---our rags for His riches!"
Thank you for this timely offering! Bless you!
c clemons12/19/05
A good story and a deserved win.