Sunday, December 15, 2013


I don't know about you but my tree came with a yellow ribbon, all the way from Oregon.  Maybe on a truck or maybe on a train.  But not on a ship or a bus or a bike.  What a wonderful place to be, in a truck or on a train filled with fir trees.  The garage smells delicious. 

Probably on a truck because there is not a train station near the tree store (big box, sorry local favorite florist but your trees are out of my price point, even though you know my name.)  The truck has made the 2,241 mile journey, which according to Google Maps should take thirty-two hours.

We hope our Christmas Tree Trucker was not expected to make the trip in such a fashion but he couldn't lollygag.  His trailer was full of woods, "lovely, dark and deep."  In a different journey but like Robert Frost's traveler in "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening," our trucker couldn't stop and relax but a moment because
                   "I have promises to keep,
                       and miles to go before I sleep,
                         and miles to go before I sleep."                                 

Wow.  Can you imagine a 53' trailer, full of tons of scratchy fir trees?  Maybe they were piled in boxes and then loaded.  Thousands of needles scratching the boxes with the slightest bump in the road.  Such a long road to travel.  Would it make him merry to carry his load, anxious to be such a bearer of joy?

From capital to capital, from the Willamette Valley to a dip in geography between the Ozarks and the Delta.  From a lush pacific region boasting Strawberry Festivals, Peony Festivals, a Wine, Pear and Cheese Jubilee, a Bluebird Day, a Jefferson Mint and Frog Jump Festival, Dahlia Festivals and a Pumpkin Merriment Party, to name a few.  Eight states away to another world of fests:  Watermelon Festivals, the Wye Mountain Daffodil Festival, Jewish Food Festival, Sixth Annual Elvis Haircut Day, Toad Suck Daze, Riverfest, Purplehull Pea and World Championship Rotary Tiller Race, and Bikes, Blues and BBQ.

Portland.  Boise.  Ogden.  Laramie.  Skirting Denver.  Salina.  Wichita.  Just barely missing Tonkawa.  Heading on down to Tulsa Town.  Passing Fort Smith.  Leaving London.  Cruising through Conway.  Crossing the Arkansas River.

The 6 -7 foot Douglas Fir is still supple and fresh.  Our batch of winter weather has certainly helped keep the tree supply winterized for all of us folks who just looked up and realized Christmas was around the corner.  And the winter weather has not helped my procrastinating preparation. 

I love Christmas.  Joy to the World was written just for me.  Hark the Herald Angels Sing.  I have learned a lot about angels this year while teaching my new favorite thing, my Ladies Sunday School Class, a dozen fun girls about my mother's age.  I don't teach, I just steer and occasionally throw a wild card into the mix.

But for a lot of people, this is a hard season.  Chronic illness can make merriment difficult.  Even good stress can add to chemical depressions.  People dealing with addictions.  The death of a beloved father, whether a month ago or three years ago.  Hunger for love, for food, for a warm, peaceful day.  We all want to feel merry in our hearts, complete with wrapped presents and a table full of home cooked favorites, surrounded by people who love us.

For me, two great truths are found on this ribbon.  First of all, this tree was planted and grown in the U.S.A.  The yellow ribbon or tag was attached to the tree manually.  Can you imagine doing that job over and over and over, and again?  My tree was a perfect tiny little green polka dot in a large tree farm where acres and acres are filled with trees to be harvested in different years.   

.......This tree was grown expressly to bring the joy of Christmas into your home.

They didn't have to include those words.  Sure, it is their business but it is also their statement.  This tree was grown expressly, on purpose, to stand in my study in the front window shimmering with white lights, covered with shiny ornaments made all over the world and a few made with the hands of a little girl.  A tree for my home. bring the joy of Christmas.   Christians didn't begin to consider winter evergreens as symbolic until Medieval times and even then, because of the origins in ancient Egyptian and Roman cultures it was not accepted.  The Puritans had laws against Christmas decorations.  German immigrants are credited with bringing many Christian Christmas traditions to America.  The British Victorian tree greatly popularized the American decorated tree we enjoy today.  This is the historical viewpoint. 

I don't know the religious leanings of this noble tree farm, but for me, when I see the Christmas tree I see hope.  How wonderful to look out on acres of trees and know the joy they will bring.   I know the joy that gives me strength on the cold day.  The hope that gets me through the hard times of the season.  Love that knows my name.

May this Christmas be full of  joy, hope and love for you and those you love.

"And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly hosts praising God,
and saying,
Glory to God in the highest.  And on earth, peace and goodwill to all men." 
Luke 2:13-14



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