The Christmas tree
By Savannah Jewell
They say that at some point, your parents picked you up, set you down, and never picked you back up again. While that seems like a fatalistic outlook on growing up, it reminds me of times when my dad would pick me up…
Every Christmas season, my family would bundle up, load into the rusty old Suburban, and head to the tree farm. We would tromp around in the snow for an hour or so, pick the perfect conifer, then ‘help’ as my dad sawed it down. While my parents handled the netting and purchase of the tree, my sister and I would wander over to the hobby farm on the property and amuse ourselves with the animals in the petting area. Inevitably, my older sister would become cornered and terrorized by a herd of hungry goats. Our mom would rescue her and buy both of us a cup of hot cider or cocoa, before we loaded up in the rusty old Suburban again, heading home with our Christmas tree.
If you’ve never used a live tree before, setting it up is an exercise in patience that I often lacked as a child. Once home with our prize, the tree would be set up in the foyer, where it had to sit for a full day before we could even think of decorating it. A whole. Entire. Day. Waiting was such torture for me! Eventually, my mom would pull out the lights and the ornaments. We would play Christmas movies while stringing the lights. Mom would put on John Denver as we unboxed individually wrapped ornaments and hung them from the branches.
As evening fell, it was time for the grand finale - placing the angel on top of the tree. It was a homemade little country angel, with yellow yarn curls and a calico print robe. Every year, my dad would pick up my sister or me, place us on his strong shoulders, and pass up the little angel for us to place on the top of the tree. As we grew, he would just lift us up to the top of the tree. And as still we grew, he eventually pulled out the step ladder and helped us safely climb to the top on our own.
This transition was so gradual and so entrenched in our holiday traditions that I never realized, until many years later, that at some point, my dad stopped picking me up. In retrospect, I have so many happy memories around this tradition. I don’t regret or wish that he could pick me up again, because he taught us how to climb that tree ourselves.
Time goes on. My sister and I have our own families now. We use artificial trees, and neither of us particularly enjoys John Denver… but I can’t wait to lift my daughter onto my shoulders and show her how to place our own angel on the top of the Christmas tree.
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Trinity Advent Devotional
Welcome to Advent, 2020, a season like no other. These readings, throughout the Advent season, have all been written by staff and members of Trinity. We hope you’ll enjoy the opportunity to get to know one another better through these prayers, devotions and stories. Even in this challenging time, we celebrate this opportunity to grow in love and service through our relationships with God and with one another.