For most children the best part of December is putting up their Christmas trees and decorating it with lights and ornaments, garland and tinsel. In my family we had what I can only term a Christmas Tree Weekend. On the second Saturday of December, we would get up early, my husband would make pancakes and bacon, and then we would pile our four children into the station wagon for an early morning car ride to the Dzens Christmas Tree Farm in South Windsor, Connecticut.
We would walk through the woods searching for the perfect tree, and we never came away disappointed. I remember watching as the boys helped their dad saw down the tree and then the girls would help him drag it to our car. He would tie it down to the roof, running the rope up and around through the open windows, and everyone had orders to hold on to our tree so it wouldn’t slide off. Lucky for us it was only a 30 minute drive home!
At home, he immediately set the tree into a bucket of water and put the children on light-duty; their job was to untangle the strands, check the lights, and replace the broken ones while he carried the boxes of decorations down from the garage. Once all was in order he put up the tree, struggling to get it straight from all angles, and securing it to the base. Most years he was forced to use spongy cords hidden throughout just to keep it upright. And then it was time to decorate.
Big colored lights like I remember from childhood and the twinkly tiny ones his mother used…both were on our tree, courtesy of a compromise made during our first Christmas as a married couple. (Of course, the big colored ones of my childhood always went on the outside, and the twinkly ones from his childhood lit up the inside). With the lights on the tree he would take a well deserved rest while the children and I placed their ornaments on the tree and decided who had the honor of putting the Christmas Angel on top. When all the boxes were emptied, he would lift the child-of-the-year up on his shoulders for the final decoration. Then, lying under the tree, they would wait while our home was darkened so the countdown could begin. 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1! Swoosh…the lights from our Christmas tree lit up the room, the bulbs reflecting each one of their faces…and keeping only the Christmas tree lights on we would spend the next few hours singing our favorite Christmas songs and playing games.
Everyone has a Christmas tree memory. What is yours?
BLESSING OF THE CHRISTMAS TREE
God of Adam, Eve, and all our ancestors, we praise you for this Christmas tree. May it stir in us a memory of the Garden of Paradise and bring us a glimpse of heaven.
Send your Son, Jesus, the shoot sprung from the root of Jesse, to restore your good earth to the freshness of Eden. On the day of Christ’s coming, every tree of the forest will clap its hands in joy and all creation will bless you from these shining branches.
Glory in heaven and peace on earth, both now and forever. Amen.