We had a family tradition. Every year, my parents, 3 sisters and I would get into our Buick station wagon and drive to a local Christmas tree lot. Once there, the doors would fly open and the four of us would each scour the four corners of the lot for what we thought was the perfect tree. Once found, we would each wait for our parents to come by, and convince them why they need to buy “our” tree, and not the ones that the other siblings were standing by. It was great event that ended up in 3 very disappointed kids every year.
When I was 7, as we did every year, we all jumped in the Buick station wagon and headed off to buy a tree… except this year, instead of heading to the Christmas tree lot, we went to a Christmas tree farm to buy a real, live, still planted in the ground, tree rather than one that had been cut for us. The stakes were much much higher. The farm was huge, but in time we were all standing next to a different tree waiting for our chance to convince our parents to pick our tree.
My tree was chosen.
We paid for the tree, grabbed the saw, carefully cut the tree down, and had it wrapped and tied to the top of the Buick. Once home and put in it’s proper place, more than any other tree that we had ever had, this year’s tree smelled nicer, had softer needles and, if I may say so myself, slightly sparkled before we had even decorated it.
Almost immediately, the tree started it’s slow process of dying.
First, the needles would start not being as soft as they once were. As time passed, the tree also changed colors from a vibrant light green to a darker green. And, no matter how diligently I added water to the bowl that the trunk was in, even the smell wasn’t like walking in a forest anymore… it was more like walking in a freshly cleaned bathroom… This distressed me. We had taken a perfectly happy tree that was minding it’s own business happily making oxygen and chopped it down, and killed it so that we could celebrate Christmas…
I asked my parents if we could replant the tree.
Troubled, my parents explained to me that once you chop down a tree, there’s no way that you can just plant it and have it regrow. Despite my best efforts to keep this tree alive, as time passed, the tree became brown and cold.
Christmas came and went.
Even though other families had gotten rid of their tree, my parents decided that we would leave ours up for a little longer, probably because it would have make a little boy very sad to see it go.
I came home from school one day and the tree was gone.
I was so upset and frustrated and angry. It probably took a little while but my mom was finally able to calm me down. She asked me to follow her and I did. She led me through the house and to our back door. When she opened the back door, there, planted in our back yard, was the tree!
So… when I get asked, “what’s the best present you’ve ever gotten for Christmas?”, my answer is, “a Christmas tree”.
Isn’t it wonderful that we believe in a God that resurrects! Things that were lost, can be found, relationships that were broken can be restored and even things that are dead can be alive again.
side note 1: for some odd reason, my family switched to an artificial tree starting the next year.
side note 2: in my teenage years, i did realize that my parents had actually bought another tree to plant in the back yard.
Do you use a real or artificial Christmas tree?
What is the best gift you’ve ever received for Christmas?