Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Oh, Christmas Tree!

This year, my Christmas tree taught me some lessons I needed to learn.
We found the tree at the same tree farm we visit each year. Of course, in reality, it is just a lot in a shopping area that sells chopped down trees, but that doesn’t sound nearly as quaint as the words “tree farm”.
We went to this tree-farm/shopping lot and brought the too-big tree home, working hard to get it to stand upright in the corner of our family room. Finally the mission was accomplished and it was time to decorate.
Now, I am an admitted control freak when it comes to decorating my tree. I will spend hours putting up the lights, squinting to make sure each bulb is placed about the same distance from the next. Then, I will strategically place the ornaments. As the hours of decorating went on, I soon began running out of lights, ornaments and eventually time, so I stopped, leaving the back of the tree—the side that was shoved into the corner --- completely blank. I flipped the switch and marveled in Advent amazement at the beauty before me. The tree looked …tremendous.
Until Christmas Eve.
Because it was on Christmas Eve, right before we were to leave for Mass that I heard a loud thud, followed by my son affirming my immediate suspicions with the words, “Mom! The tree just fell!”
Running into the room, I saw my beautifully decorated tree looking not so beautiful, sprawled out across the floor, resting on a bed of broken ornaments.
We managed to get “old Tannenbaum” back up, but only by changing the direction the tree was leaning. Because it was such a heavy tree, my husband had to secure it with rope to the side window to keep it from falling again. Once this was finally accomplished, I realized that the only part now visible was the part of the tree I had not decorated since it was originally in the corner.
With mass and Christmas morning both right around the corner, it was going to have to stay this way. And so it was we celebrated Christmas with my humble-looking tree, tied with a rope to the window.
As always, I figured God was trying to tell me something. First of all, I’m sure there was a message there about being a control freak. But more than that, I couldn’t help but to think about the way we hide our less than attractive sides of ourselves everyday. We spend so much time making sure we are presenting to the world only the side that we want them to see. But then, when our balance is off, when we least expect it, we might fall and end up showing the world the side of ourselves we’re not so proud of.
For the coming year, I hope I remember several lessons from my fallen tree. I will try to have less to hide, even through life’s falls. I will also try to be less of a control freak. And yes, when next Christmas comes, I will remember to buy a smaller tree---or bigger rope.


Anonymous said...

Loved it - you surely have a great gift with words and the moral was right on!!

Anonymous said...

It must be the year for falling trees... ours fell too! Thanks for helping me see the lesson in it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for thoughts to start my day --and my year off right.

Linda said...

Tammy - I just smile with pride when I read your writings and think "We were best friends in high school!" : ) You truly have a gift and you are using it for God, and that is beyond special!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Linda! I am proud to be your friend!