The Christmas Tree

I remember when I was a little girl and we would go and buy our Christmas tree, it was the start of the intensely exciting Christmas season. We would agonize over many, many trees as we wandered the local tree lot. Finally, we would pick the tree we deemed perfect. Once we arrived back home with the tree in tow, my dad would wrestle with the green Frazier Fir until he finally got it in the house and into the tree stand. We would look at it from every angle and decide what was the best side, of course, changing our minds several times at the frustration of my dad lying on the ground with his head under the branches. He would move it and move again and again until we were certain we had the the tree showcasing its loveliest self. It was then finally time for the lights. We adorned the tree with colored lights, reds, greens, blues, and yellows. I loved how it looked in our dark living room, all lit and twinkling. Once the ornaments were all hung and the star placed on the top, it was truly the season, and mere days until Christmas.

For many years, this was our Christmas tree routine. It was my expectation. That is, until my mom decided white lights were so elegantly beautiful. I started to cry. White lights? Our tree, however, became a twinkling star in the night. It seemed more reverent, more spiritual. It was less Santa Claus and more Jesus. Christmas became more grown up and a little less magic, yet more sophisticated. In every sense of the word, we truly had white Christmases, not with snow, but in lights.

So, once I was married, on the first Christmas, there was a unique history from my husband and I regarding how lights define a Christmas tree. I wanted elegant, he wanted a tree painted in color. The first year, it was covered in stars. I found that the tree, however, was his. He wanted to attach every light to a branch, which took hours. And when I would hang an ornament, he would move it to where he thought it belonged. Slowly, through the years, the color came back to the tree. With the white lights, were strands of color. Our topper was an angel, not a star, that moved her wings with spiritual grace. We amassed a fortune in ornaments of every kind. Our tree, a story of our lives through the years. But the tree was his canvas, and I just admired it from a distance. The tree was painstakingly chosen, methodically lit, and every ornament meticulously placed by the Christmas tree artist.

Then, one Christmas, when my mother was ill, and I was caring for her, the tree changed. We moved it outside. The lights were all aglow in color. The ornaments were oranges, apples, and other edible treats for the birds and wildlife. It would sit in the night, twinkling against a winter sky, and in the morning, the birds would gather for a feast. The tree became a tribute to the giving spirit of Christmas.

It is now my Christmas hope, if my stars align, to have a Christmas tree of my very own. As time has passed, I would return to magic, the twinkle of vintage colored lights. The colors of my childhood breaking the darkness of a winter’s night. I would add the treats for my forest friends. The ornaments would be flowers, fresh and beautiful, a testament to life and love. The angel would return to the top of the tree as her wings blessed visitors to the tree’s branches. The tree would smell alive with the aroma of a earthly garden. It’s loveliness would be not only a visual masterpiece, but a living canvas of peace and hope. For in our purchase of plastic wreaths, artificial trees made in China, the store bought balls and trinkets, and the mad dash for the perfect holiday magic…holiness is really found in the garden of life, amongst the kinship of nature, and the glow of twinkling stars on our earthly home.

My wish, for this Christmas: in the journey from Christmas pasts, may you find a return to the beautiful bounty of our planet, and yet a sacredness in the fragility of our existence on this planet we call home. In the season of hope, find the presence of the Divine in the quiet peace of our ever shrinking garden untouched by man…nature. Leave the busy rush of fake in lieu of awe. May the true spirit of Christmas tug at your heart and embrace your soul today and every day as we find our way through the insane madness we have created for ourselves in our search for something better, unaware that best was already here. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

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If life steers you into a dead end road, and you are trying to find your way, skip the GPS, take the road with no traffic. Founder studiO, early morning poet.

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Patty Brown

Patty Brown

If life steers you into a dead end road, and you are trying to find your way, skip the GPS, take the road with no traffic. Founder studiO, early morning poet.