One of the first things Matt and I ever owned together was a fake Christmas tree. We found it at a garage sale in Cape Cod and the owners just gave it to us, no cost —
We wouldn’t have named the tree if it hadn’t had so much character. The whole way back to Boston it rustled in its box, and Matt would turn around and say, “Quiet back there! We’ll get there when we get there!”
Since we’d spent time with a dog recently that we both love whose name is Mr. Boof, we decided that the tree should be named Mr. Spoof. Fake tree = spoof. Perfect.
It was perfect until we moved into our new, 300 Sq. Ft. apartment. We’ve looked and thought 100 ways, and there simply is no space for Mr. Spoof. No room in the inn. He sits today in a box in the basement at the Lilac Manor (beneath my old home).
So what can one do when no tree will fit, but one still desires Christmas and nice pine smells in the city? 3 things:
1.) Go to a Christmas tree lighting with 7 of your best Arabic-speaking friends, your Community Group and your husband. All the Middle Eastern friends were unaccustomed to FREEZING wind and it was funny but sad to watch the weather ruin the experience. Our Community Group did our thing, meeting neighbors and eating pounds of cookies. Before my arabic speaking friends left, they asked WHY we do this (stand in the snow and sing about santa claus around a huge tree). I gotta say, I was a little bit embarrassed. I had assumed trees started as some pagan tradition and became a beautiful way to celebrate Christmas because Jesus had a ..I mean, because there’s an angel on —i mean..wait, why do we have trees?? 😦 Awkward, especially as a Christian who wants to share why we celebrate Christmas together at all.
2.) Put up sparkly lights in your apartment SOMEWHERE. ANYWHERE. Matt hung ours around our bookshelf and down a wall. They look cool. We may leave them up year round. By this time, I’ve realized that I have no idea why we do trees anyways, even though I wikipedia-ed it and learned about lots of traditions, mainly from Germany and around the world…but we DO like the twinkle lights!
3.) Be very happy for your aunt has mailed you a fresh pine centerpiece from Maine! It smells like a tree, is pretty and “Christmas-y”.
I guess the point is – I do love me some Christmas trees. And I do hope one stands waiting in Rochester when we arrive on Dec. 21st or 22nd. And I do love the smell and look of pine and sparkle that is involved. And the tree does bring light and make me more thankful that God gave me another year on earth. But…I should figure out traditions I can share in that do bring glory to God MORE than trees.
I don’t write this because I’m worried about a ‘war on CHRISTmas’ or anything like that – but simply because giving God honor and glory at this time of year — when it’s our turn to share why we celebrate, is done by acting out his love and using our words, not by going along with things we don’t understand and forgetting that some people might not know the story of Jesus yet.
There’s some seriously awesome stuff in the story of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2) that we could even miss as we read it, if we read it quickly. I want to look closer at what I do and why and learn something about God that I never knew this year.
Now, to find a place in the apartment to stick a few ornaments..(jk).
PS: In my research I also came across this: http://www.mylcgs.org/martin_luthertree.htm — a hymn I LOVE. and this — the best explanation I’ve found personally, seems well-researched: http://www.orlutheran.com/html/chrtree.html.
PSS: In 2005, the city of Boston renamed the spruce tree used to decorate the Boston Common a “Holiday Tree” rather than a “Christmas Tree”. The name change drew a poor response from the public and it was reversed after the city was threatened with several lawsuits.
Lastly, as Martin Luther IS one of my heroes — it’s funny I had to dig so much to discover the origin of the tree—but the point of this post is basically that I should do the digging before people ask me things in the future.