It seems like only yesterday I was at the big box home improvement store buying my first live Christmas tree in many years. And as if by some cruel finger of fate, my tree has gone toes up two weeks after I got it... or should I say roots up. What once was a lovely and noble pine has become like a drooped over old man. Still standing straight up, but everything hanging down and sadly brown. I wondered if I could resurrect it, but after polling my FB friends, including one fireman who said
" I have seen a house completely destroyed by a Christmas tree fire BUT BUT BUT, it was still plugged in and left on overnight. I wouldn't have a problem with keeping it unplugged and making sure there are no real sources of fire within several feet."
I decided it was best to just unplug the pathetic thing and and enjoy the memory of what it had only just been a week ago.
Do I regret having bought the tree you may ask? Well, maybe you didn't ask. but I thought about it anyway. I smiled as I thought what a gift it was even in its short life. When I first expressed my desire to get a tree so many people and why, many people expressed their love in a way that I had not expected. One friend told me that she was so touched that she wanted to help me go get it (which was an unspoken prayer as I imagined myself like Meg Ryan from "Harry Met Sally" trying to lug the thing to my car.) So I got love, an offer, and a fun evening with a friend that lasted well into the night as a couple of usual humbugs listened to Pandora's Christmas list and strung the light with trees (after spending an hour trying to make it stand) laughing all the time.
Not only that, I learned to make cool light effects by cutting out a mask for my camera lens because I wanted to capture the magic of the tree (something that would have never caught my eye had I not had the tree... or a camera for that matter. ) and got to make other people's day a little more filled with wonder when they saw the result. So even as it died, the community outpouring of caring through information showed that my little tree was not just a tree to me, but a lightening rod of support and love. Okay, the tree is dead-- but it served its purpose. To help me remember a time of love. Sure I wish the it had lasted just one week longer (its been sincerely dead for a week now) But it gave its gift long before the Christmas day.
It kind of reminds me of God's gift to Mary of a baby boy. Mary is said to have treasured things in her heart that she had heard about Him from a group of shepherds who were told
"...I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.' "
Thirty three years is not a long time when you think that you're going to see you Child grow up and have children of His own. But the gifts she got along the way could not be taken away from her-- and the greatest gift being the promise she had "...He will save His people from their sins.”
Everything dies. My mom, this tree, and I will too one day. But the message of Christmas is the gift that was given that even in death, there is hope for not only life-- but meaning to life while we walk this earth. I am thankful to the tree for that last little gift-- because in thinking of it's death, it helped me to remember my Savior's everlasting life.