Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Trees (12/05/05)
TITLE: Special Trees in Memory Lane
By Donna Haug
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December 12, 2005
Setting up the Christmas tree is quite a tradition in our home. I recall once when I was a child, my father once made a tree for us – out of a broom stick, twine, and wire! We’ve had real trees that have dried up so thoroughly by the time we took it down, that we were picking pine needles out of our carpet for weeks afterwards. We’ve had artificial trees that we have set up for a week before Christmas and taken down on Christmas day because of a planned two-week trip beginning on Boxing Day! One year we even spent Christmas camping beside a nice warm beach. Our faithful Christmas tree, with its lights all aglow, was planted right behind our tent.
This year I almost forgot! With temperatures reaching 40 degrees Celsius and moving day just around the corner, Christmas was the last thing I was thinking about. We were well into the second week of December, and putting up my tree had not even crossed my mind! While talking to a family member who lives in a much colder climate, I was amazed at my lack of “Christmas spirit”.
On Saturday, I made a deal with the kids. “Hey, guys. What do you think of this? If I can find the tree in the middle of all our moving boxes out in the storage shed, would you like to help me set up our Christmas tree today?”
“Yeah! Great idea, Mom!”
Fifteen minutes later, I was covered in dust from head to toe, but held a tree box and a container of ornaments triumphantly in my hands! We all pitched in, and soon the tree had its branches spread out semi-evenly. My thirteen and three-quarters year old daughter said, “Hey, I don’t remember the tree being that short!”
“Just goes to show how much you’ve grown in a year, my love!” I said, looking wonderingly at what used to be my little girl. I turned away to hang a hand-made ornament on the tree that held a picture of this very same young lady in days gone by.
“Our First Christmas Together”
“Baby’s first Christmas”
“Merry Christmas, Mom and Dad” written in squiggly handwriting inside a star card.
The memories come flooding back.
What is it about Christmas that makes us so nostalgic? Is it wrong to enjoy the Christmas customs we so enjoy back home? Does it take away from the true meaning of the season? My husband and I mulled these questions over in our minds as we lay in bed that night. The birth of my Lord will always be the true meaning of Christmas. But family and friends are also very important to Him. I don’t think he minds too terribly when we enjoy the outer trappings of the season, as long as it doesn’t eclipse the whole purpose of the celebration.
This year we will have our first Christmas in a very long time without any family around at all. Most of our colleagues will be away as well. I think this year we will celebrate Jesus’ birthday in a quiet way. Just Him and us. I don’t think He’ll mind.
“Mom, what is it about a Christmas tree that makes you want to cuddle up in a blanket in the dark and stare at the lights?” Ignoring the 30 degree temperatures at 11 p.m., my thirteen and three-quarter year old had bundled herself up in a blanket on the couch to sleep.
I don’t know, my baby. But I feel the same way. Maybe I’ll just sit here for a while in the rocking chair and enjoy one more tree planted in Memory Lane.
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