Christmas Tree Wars
By Eddie Jones
When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins.
Colossians 2:13 (NIV)
The tree lay dead on the patio. Dead a good long while based on the green halo of needles covering the concrete. Still, this was Christmas. A time for dredging up old memories, hanging garland from the mantle and pretending there was peace on earth and in my heart. My task was simple: mount the tree in its stand and drag it into the house. The rest of the holiday festivities fell to my wife, for she’s the one who keeps the spirit of Christmas alive in our home. I simply endure the decorating in order to get to the cookies. Thus began this year’s Christmas Tree War.
Day one. Fitted tree with round green boot. Inserted metal pins in trunk. Yelled at dog for attempting to relieve himself on the tree’s cone-shaped peak. Snow falling. God's attempt, I suppose, to inject some Christmas spirit into me. I'm warming to the idea.
Day two. Boot's not working. Tree tilts like that rental sailboat in my novel, Bahama Breeze. Wife worried about the tree and my bold threats to fly to the islands and skip Christmas. Surfing reef breaks sounds like way more fun than shoveling ice from the steps.
Day three. Tree slumped against the wall. Stand empty of water. Needles cover the white carpet. Wife yelling at me to clean my mess. I suppose something will have to be done about the tree… and wife.
Day four. Met with a friend who’s handy with tools to review my options. One, toss the tree and buy another. Two, toss the tree and buy a plastic one. Three, toss Christmas.
Day five. Wife in the kitchen. Friends on their way over. House smells of cinnamon, evergreen and other Christmas “smell-good” stuff. Tree starting to shrivel like a castaway sailor who’s been at sea too long.
Day six. Amputation. With crude tools I removed a portion of the trunk. Carpet a mess. Wife’s out shopping, again. Lights askew. Tree needs work. Not a holly jolly Christmas, yet.
Day seven. Tree standing (sort of) erect. Branches adorned with balls. Colorful lights twinkling. Wife snuggled against my arm, whispering, “you da mon!” Might warm up to this idea of Christmas, after all.
Dragging a dead tree into my home makes no sense: no sense at all. And yet, are we not like that tree? Dead in our sins, our lives littered with nettlesome remarks, missed opportunities and nagging regrets?
Paul says God finds us brittle, broken and parched for His fellowship. Though at first, we appear green, pliable, and "ever green," inside we are dead. Dead to God. Dead to our neighbor. Dead to the joy which should be ours everyday.
And yet even in our state of decay God lifts us up, holds us high, and adorns us with His love. Yes we are dead in our transgressions, but we become alive in Christ. Ever green for ever more.
Why do we drag dead trees into our homes each year? Is it not a symbol of hope? Our annual statement that we too can come alive even though we are dead inside? This is the reason I fight the Christmas Tree Wars. I want to recapture the magic of Christ and believe in abundant life He promised.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. - John 10:10, New International Version (NIV)
Oh Lord, may I exude the sweet evergreen smell of life to those around me this Christmas.
Eddie Jones © 2011, printed with permission
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Eddie's young adult novel, The Curse of Captain LaFoote, won the 2012 Moonbeam Award in the Pre-Teen Fiction/Fantasy category and 2011 Selah Award in Young Adult fiction. Dead Man's Hand, Eddie's first middle grade novel in the Caden Chronicles mystery series, is now available from Zonderkidz. Eddie sails, surfs and writes in North Carolina.
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