Nothing completes the holidays like the fresh scent of a fir wafting through the living room. Except perhaps white lights and shiny red globes dripping off that same fir.
My Christmas tree is twinkling merrily by the window and except for the ornaments my cats have knocked loose, it's absolutely coated in Christmas cheer.
Now, I'm not a woodsman. I'm not even a gardener. I have a condition known as brown thumb. This affliction is characterized by the uncanny ability to forget to water anything that can't make noise. So, if it were up to me to go out into the Ozarks, scrounge up a five to six foot tree, and chop it down....well, my holidays would probably revolve around the decoration of a coffee table. However, thanks to Home Depot, Frazier the fir is all but singing carols and the season is in full swing.
I have heard several fables about the origins of the Christmas tree tradition. I am not sure which is accurate, but to be frank, I don't much care. I am just grateful for whoever it was that said, "You know what would make this Christmas more festive? If we cut down a tree and brought it inside. I know, I know, lets put stuff on it, too."
I don't know that this tradition has any religious significance. Jesus was born in a stable in the desert and not in December. But for me, it is a visual reminder of the loveliness of that time when God came. God, the original gardener, who made a rich and abundant creation to give his people a glimpse of how glorious he is. It is a picture of extravagant beauty, like the angels who set the sky ablaze with light and song when Christ breathed his first. It smells fresh, that earthy smell of life, like the sense in your soul when the Holy Spirit blows a fresh wind through you. And it glows warm, like the heart of God toward His Son on earth and all who would follow Him, like the heart of Mary to her baby, like my own heart toward the Christ who braved this world like the rest of us, all for the sake of his mighty love.
So, tonight I'm grateful most of all for Jesus and the greatest coup ever. It still stuns me that the Almighty would risk birth and childhood and all so he might share life with us. I'm grateful to my friend Ann and my sister who helped make this tree glow with holiday spirit. I'm grateful for the folks way back who started the tree tradition, and for the good folks at Home Depot who lined up the five-to-six foot trees in a neat bin and spared me from decorating a coffee table.