Of Christmas and of Christmas Trees
I resolve myself to this thought,
That it means much more to the heart of the season
Than the many gifts that were bought.
Of Christmas and of Christmas Trees
My heart is sure to state,
That we go much further than ribbons and bows
And we move forward to some greater fate.
Kelly Andrews © 2021
With everything going on with Christmas and New Year’s, I have struggled to find time to sit down and write. I apologize for this and will try to be more consistent with my writings in the upcoming year. As I sit and write this morning, the house is quiet and dark. The sun is hours away from the horizon and the smell of Frasier Fir still fills the room from Firdinand, our Christmas tree from this year. His brother, Olivefir, stands on the front porch and is a little healthier at this point of the season with the blowing rain and less dry conditions of his outside home. K2 and I bought two trees this December and decided to name them. They are part of the family during the holiday season after all. No different than distant relatives that wander into your guest room on the biggest of holidays and special occasions throughout the year and is vacant from your home the majority of the other time. Oh, I know they are trees and when they have served their purpose they will return to the wild and eventually to the ground from whence they came by the slow process of decay. On second thought, maybe we are not so different from they. And yes, I know we are symbiont beings that are capable of feelings and thought. We are passionate and resourceful, compassionate and spiritual. We are able to do wonderful things through our actions, our unique abilities, and through our use of words and our works. We are indeed, fearfully and wonderfully made.
Yet, in some ways we are similar to trees. When the storms of life are upon us, those whose root systems run deep are more likely to survive. We are stronger together and need help and support from our closest of neighbors and friends, similar to the giant Sequoias whose roots while shallow, spread out and interlock with the roots of their surrounding trees to become strong and grow tall. Adapting to our surroundings and being tolerant to outside forces help us to survive and continue our growth. We need not change who we are to do this. Indeed, you should remain true to who you are as long as who you are is who you truly want to be. A maple tree that adapts to its surroundings and sways in the summer storm is still a maple tree. The ability to bend but not break is essential to survival. Those that are too rigid will be snapped in the strongest of winds. Ultimately, there are some storms that are just too big for us. We are brought low by these super tornadoes of life and in our despair and pain comes our resilience and our deep desire to rebuild, renew, replant, and survive. Out of the rubble, new seeds are planted. New generations of people, like trees are born from the darkest of days and sprout up with a new dawning of life. Eventually, no matter how strong, we are cut down by some unseen foe. Whether it is a bolt of lightning from the sky or just the cumulative effects of unstoppable aging, Father Time always wins in the end. And then, like Firdinand and Olivefir, we return to where we began and the new trees are planted behind us in our stead.
As I look over my shoulder now, I see the sun has made its way above the horizon and is slowly chasing the darkness to its temporary home. Around the room, the stockings are still hung by the fireplace, the banister still sports the garland and lights, and the decorations of the season still hang. Behind me there is a red draw sack with white snowflakes and the words “Believe in the magic of Christmas”, and so I do. Firdinand stands tall beside me. He knows my secrets! He sees my idiosyncrasies that are so uniquely a part of who I am, he watches me at my best and sometimes my worst and yet tells no one. His silence is like that of a loyal friend that stands by me no matter what ill-fated decision or ill-conceived plan my wonderful and wretched mind has concocted for the day. Perhaps having no tongue to speak with is preferred. For all of our worrying about not knowing the right words to say, it is usually our innate ability to speak when we should remain silent that hinders us. Maybe I can learn a lot from Firdinand. Maybe we all can. He is still adorned in all his glory. The Frasier Fir is lighted from top to bottom with colored lights that change slowly and throw shadows on the ceiling and across the floor. In those shadows are memories of Christmas’ long ago. All the excitement of Christmas mornings that I knew in my youth is still prevalent within me today. It is part of me and true to who I am. I see that same light in the eyes of my grandkids these days. All the innocence and utter surety to believe in something and in someone without question. It is a lesson in faith that warms my heart and stirs my soul. It is no wonder that the faith of a child is the highest compliment and benchmark by which all other faith is judged. In a few short days, we will take off the ornaments and lights. We will put away the decorations in our storage boxes and sit them in darkness until needed again next year. Firdinand will also disappear and slip into the memory of our yesterdays. Gone, but not forgotten. Just like those distant relatives that visit us briefly at Christmas time.
Happy Wandering and Happy New Year!
Nice work pal!
I do so love your creative and inspiring words! Thank you!!! Love your tree names. What a great idea! The way you write of our likeness and connection to the trees reminds me of Fr. Richard Rohr’s daily devotions, which remind us that we are ultimately connected with all of creation. We are called to respect, nurture and love ALL of it–not just humankind. Thank you for sharing the words in your heart. Bless you. Fabulous photos, too!
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Thank you so much for your kind words. A Richard Rohr comparison of any kind is quite a compliment to be sure. I do believe that we are called to be good stewards of all creation that we are blessed enough to come in contact with. We, as human beings, are indeed valuable. But we are just a small part of something much bigger than ourselves, and should wake each day with a renewed sense of awe and wonder.