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Monday, December 9, 2019

That Christmasy Feeling

My wife, Melanie, and I recently put up our first Christmas tree in our new home.  We always have a real tree that we buy from a tree lot; a tree that has been recently cut in the mountains and transported to Charlotte.  This year we bought a tree that is nine feet tall, the tallest tree we have ever bought.  It would not fit into my CRV so I asked the people at the tree lot to tie it on top of my car.

On the way home from the lot I thought it would be smart to stop and check the tree to make sure it was not loose.  I pulled into a parking lot, opened my car door, got out of the car and shut my door.  As soon as the door shut the rope used to tie the tree snapped.   When I tied the two severed ends together it was too short to fasten to the car.  So I rolled the window of the car down, put the rope into the window, got into the car, rolled the window up, wrapped the rope around my hand and held on while I drove the remaining seven miles home.

We made it home with the tree, although, all the way home,I had visions of the tree flying off the car and onto someone’s hood or through their windshield or hitting someone standing in their yard. Needless to say, the tree had not yet given us that Christmasy feeling.

In the driveway I unwrapped that thin, rotten, sorry (and some other names) rope from the tree and began to slide it off the car towards me.  At this point, I did not know how much that tree weighed.   I realized how much it weighed as it began to roll off the car into my arms.  The sound of it hitting my side mirror and knocking it to the ground filled my ears.  

And there I stood.  Tree on the ground.  Mirror wires dangling from the car.  No visions of sugar plumbs.  No sounds of angels singing.   No Christmasy feeling.  

I put the tree stand on the tree and took it inside.  I stood it up.  It was crooked.  I tightened one side and loosened another side of the stand.  Still crooked.  I loosened it more; tightened it more; loosened it; tightened it.  Finally I loosened one side so that it couldn’t be loosened any more, stood up and pushed the tree in the direction it needed to go.  Tightened it.  Looked at it.  Almost straight.  Good enough.  Walking away, looking at it, I quickly calculated the cost of the tree with the side mirror of the car added into the calculation.  Plus labor.  I did not feel Christmasy.

We added the lights.   One strand wanted to blink, not all the time, just once in a while.  We yanked it off the tree.  We discovered we did not have enough lights for a 9 foot tree.  Melanie ran out to CVS for more lights.  I took a break and listened to Christmas music while she was gone.  She returned.  Traffic was horrible.  Crowds of people were everywhere.  She bought 600 more lights.  We put them on.

And then, standing there in the dark, the tree glowed.  The Trans-Siberian Orchestra began to play the Christmas Canon, and a miracle began to take place in each of us.  “On this night, on this night, on this very Christmas night...” sang the children, as we began to hang the Christmas ornaments; ornaments our children had made; ornaments we had purchased on our travels; ornaments given to us by special friends or family members; ornaments of sleds and mangers and angels.  After we finished we stood staring.  It was beautiful.  This tree.  This first tree in our new home took our breath away.

And the children sang, “This night we pray our lives will show, this dream he had each child still knows, on this night, on this night, on this very Christmas night.

And we felt more than Christmasy.  We felt the miracle of Christmas.