Pop quiz: Where were you a week ago today?
Hint: It may have involved turkey, many carbs and a whole lot of football.
Ours did, but that was the only traditional thing about Thanksgiving this year. We ate our turkey dinner in a restaurant, watched football in a hotel and worked our starch intake off on Saturday emptying Russ’s parents apartment for their move to skilled care. It was a mix of emotions and real life; celebrations and tears.
When we got home on Sunday afternoon, it was time to get serious about Christmas. I made a list before I went to bed and hit it hard Monday morning.
One of my tasks was to scout out trees at a couple of the lots and we would go back and pick it up when Russ got off work. We had only Monday night to get a tree home as the rest of the week was booked.
So with good intention to stay on task, I headed out to run errands and assess trees.
As I ticked several items off I got the bright idea to just go out to Four E’s like we did in the old days and get a fresh cut tree. Blame it on sleep deprivation or carb overload, but I soon found myself shivering in gale force winds wearing the hooded sweatshirt I had thrown on. I faced an army of fresh cut trees leaning against railings. Eventually I was joined by a tree guy who was pretty much covered head to toe in thermal Carhartt with only his eyes and part of his mouth visible.
We made an odd couple, as he held trees out and I sized each one with my arms bowed out like a ballerina because that’s how I had measured the space available in the corner of the family room. After quite a few attempts we found a winner and another thermally disguised guy bailed it and slid it in to the trunk…just a foot of tree too long to close the lid.
He offered me a bucket ‘o twine with which to secure the hatch and his apologies that he could not fasten it for me, nor help, because they didn’t want to be liable for any damage if something happened on the way home.
Can I tell you, this was my first indication that perhaps I was treading in waters where someone like me should not be?
But it was too late. I was committed and the Carhartt team had disappeared….so I fastened it, and the manner in which the process occurred will be forever a secret because what happens at the tree farm, stays at the tree farm. Suffice to say, the tree, the trunk of the car and I arrived home safely, in spite of potholes, railroad tracks, high winds and the open door alert that sounded the entire 20 minute ride.
As I hoisted the tree onto the porch, I thought I heard the distant strains of Helen Reddy singing “I am Woman, Hear me Roar”. Ha!
I have to be honest, in my mind, every year I carry this lovely vision of the family outing to pick a tree. But over the years the ONLY tradition is that at some point we did get a tree home. It always seemed to involve some kind of crazy story. This year’s adventure was just another one for book.
Often we have expectations attached to the events around the holidays that have nothing to do with the point of why we do it. We listen to other family’s stories, see commercials depicting houses, watch Christmas movies, and surf the internet. Somehow our version of preparing for Christmas just doesn’t seem to be the right way. We remember, with rose-colored glasses, Christmas past and sigh and long for those better days forgetting they were no more perfect than today is!
Really, the only “wrong” way to celebrate Christmas is to lose sight of why we do any of these things.
We are celebrating the birth of the One who came to save us from ourselves…from our sin.. Emmanuel…God with us….The Prince of Peace….The Sovereign Lord…come to think of it: the Lion of Judah…hear HIM roar!
As we go about the preparations for this season, let us ever be mindful that at the center of it all is the coming of our Savior. God bless you this week as you let that joy fuel all your efforts <3
and as our grandson would say…..Ta Da!!!!