Sunday, December 12, 2010

Advent Day 12


The perfect Christmas tree? All Christmas trees are perfect! ~Charles N. Barnard

Tree

Reading: Trees are one of the most widely recognized symbols of the holiday season. During the freezing dark time of the year, pine trees hold all their needles and produce a smell that brings a smile to people's faces. Trees symbolize nature's triumph over winter's darkness and deathly cold. Every year we set up a Christmas Tree as a reminder of everlasting life.

My husband and I are Christmas tree connoisseurs. We began a tradition of getting a real tree every year. My husband often had to be on call for Christmas and while most customers were closed, we could not leave to visit family living hours away because of the two-hour response time contracts and the few that were working. We often had quiet gift openings in the morning and then we would go to the movie theater to watch two movies, on right after the other, mostly so we would not feel so lonely. We saw a real Christmas tree as the one gift we would give to ourselves for Christmas regardless of how financially strapped we were.

I am not sure exactly when were saw our first Noble tree but we were hooked from that time on. They are truly beautiful. They are a slow growing tree with a thick trunk and a nearly spiral lacy growth of branches that usually need very little trimming. They have a unique smell, a bit citrus-y, and their needles stay on and on. They are also more costly and difficult to find. In fact, there was some kind of problem with Nobles and they could not be found hardly at all for some years while the growers recuperated waiting for the younger ones to grow.

This year, I saw the Nobles. I admired their nearly perfect shape. I touched their needles, which held on the branch. I smelled that distinct Noble smell. I held the price tag in my hand thinking it was a shame that after so many years of not seeing even one, here it was within my grasp and yet...I would pass on it this year. You see, this year we just cannot afford any extra expenses like that. In fact, we considered borrowing a fake tree, which would have been unthinkable to us at any other time. We even passed the Grade A Frasier Firs to look at the Grade B. We picked the fullest one we saw with its wild branches sorely in need of trimming and brought it home.

It was hands down the sorriest tree we have ever had. Thankfully, my husband and I are expert Christmas tree trimmers. We trimmed away the thick bushy areas and branches that went straight up and a few branches that went sideways and then we had a beautiful tree. God has been telling us to do with what we have and, of late, it has come down to not being a matter of choice, but necessity. I am working on being at peace with that. Through this tree, I was again reminded that we are resourceful, talented, and healthy enough to do what we can with what we have. We can even make a Grade B tree look quite classy as a Christmas tree and I know exactly what makes a tree look "Noble."

~ Thank you, my Lord, for these hard times--yes, I think I am finally truly thankful for it. I realize now how much we have further developed our ingenuity and talents instead of using as much in money and shopping and purchases to make this Christmas special. ~

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