New Christmas Tree

When I was a child, and even as a young adult, I promised myself I’d never reduce the centerpiece of our Christmas celebration, the ceiling scraping evergreen tree, to a miniature fake tabletop version like my great-aunts and grandparents did.

Real life has a way of educating like none other.  Now I understand that hauling a very large and heavy tree into one’s living room cannot be easily accomplished by someone in their later years.  Thankfully we are not there……..yet.  Still I am breaking my promise to myself and in the pictures below you can see the new ‘Christmas tree’ I created this year for our ornaments.

And it has a story.  Two years ago on December 26th, our crusty grumpy neighbor knocked on our front door.  We live in the woods on two acres and our neighbor up the hill lives on three and a half.  In his 70s but convinced he’s not a day older than 25, Bob was frequently in the woods with his chain saw.  The familiar whine of the saw had been going off and on that morning.  It was normal neighborhood noise which I ignored.

 Have you seen the commercial recently by an insurance company, the one in which the opening scene shows a man in a tree cutting a huge limb which falls on his neighbor’s car, crushing it in half?  The byline, “accidents happen.”

 The knock on our front door came because an accident had happened.  Mr. Bob, who was sure he was 25 was also sure he was never wrong.  I can’t tell you how many times he came down the hill to correct my husband and demonstrate his superior knowledge.  But on this day he was sheepish.  He had come to tell me he had felled a tree on his property which fell onto ours and decapitated my five year old October Glory maple tree.  Dennis had given it to me as a Christmas gift.

 That spring I fertilized it and prayed that what remained would still live.  It did….for a year and then this spring it died.  My husband cut it down with his chain saw and I piled the limbs next to the decapitated top until we needed wood for a bon fire.  Out of sight, out of mind and I forgot about them until a week ago when I couldn’t find a Christmas tree I liked.  Then inspiration came.

 With pruning shears in hand I dragged the limbs down the hill and cut the prettiest branches to five-foot lengths.

After spray painting them white I mixed a batch of plaster of paris, my husband got into it and stirred the white stuff as it thickened, we poured it into a clay pot and arranged the branches into a pleasing arrangement.

Voila!  This year’s tree!

And a tiny picture of redemption, the story of Christmas.  That God would take my broken damaged life and make anything of beauty out of it is miraculous.  My home-made Christmas tree, which might stay up the entire month of January, will remind me that God will make all things new.  Hope.  What a wonderful gift He has given!

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