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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Prepare for Christmas

Charlie Brown tree (branch) creatively decorated by Matt and Lu
After coming back to the island Monday morning, we started preparing for Christmas and family, 10 of us plus two dogs, arriving. Besides baking, we cut the red berry holly and fir branches from our trees, strung lights along the grape arbor and the roof line near the walkway. We put the wreaths on the entry gate and strung colored lights on a fir and plum tree outside the gate.

We decided to find and cut a local tree as we had no time to get one from the tree lots in town. This is more fun anyway. Most of the trees that we found at our place were light starved with branches long or spindly or lopsided. We considered the Korean fir that Neil planted years ago that struggles to survive. The bottom three feet, bare from the nibbling of deer, could be the right height if we cut off the bottom, but we decided to let it go another year.

A friend offered a tree on her land. “Just go and look, especially around the power lines as they need to be cut anyway.” So we headed off with the truck and chain saw and walked the roads and power lines and found two. One was in the middle of many firs under the power line and looked delicate and symmetrical and the other was full, coming out of a downed, still living tree. This side branch decided it would be a real tree and was shaped well and full, so we cut both, one for outside and one for inside. I kind of liked the persistence of the latter so we chose that one for the indoor tree as a reminder of full life even when downed.

I seem to like imperfect trees, although not as imperfect as I remember my Dad and I bringing home. That year we went out to get a tree from the Sunoco gas station lot near our home in Massachusetts where Mom said there were Nova Scotia trees. It was late so not many left and we didn’t realize how bad it was until we got it in the house and the needles started falling off. Even our cat got sick eating the fallen needles. There was one side with hardly any branches on it. I remember my Dad trying to take a bottom branch off and drilling a hole in the bare spot to glue it in so it would look decent. At least I know the needles won’t fall off the tree we just cut.

I can relate to downed imperfect trees, still recovering from illness. I still don’t have the strength back but looking at that tree that was only a branch on a downed tree and how it decided to grow symmetrical and straight for as long as it could gives me encouragement. I don’t feel bad cutting it as it soon would stop growing since the trunk, actually a branch was very small and the life in the downed tree where it got it’s source was dwindling.

So in preparation to celebrate Christmas, we remember Jesus born who later said, “I am the vine (tree with the life source), you are the branches. If a man (woman) remains in me and I in him (has Jesus in their heart), he will bear much fruit: apart from me you can do nothing.” 1 I’m glad we can celebrate the source of our strength and hope not only this seeason but always and am looking forward to a wonderful Christmas tapped into the vine.
We wish you a Very Merry Christmas as well.

1. John 15:5

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