The Tree I Almost Missed

A soft Minnesota breeze touched my shoulder with the warmth of September instead of the December day it really was. Among the bills in my mailbox, I had received a Christmas card. It was the only thing that said the holidays were here.

A week ago, my husband asked if I wanted a Christmas tree. My reply was something like, “I don’t think so. No one will see it anyway.” And so, the house remained the same. No garland. No stockings hung by the fireplace with care. And no Christmas tree!

Something in that warm breeze changed my heart when our first Christmas card arrived in the mailbox. I heard my own advice echo back. It came from a time when my children were growing up.  Often, I would remind them it was important to celebrate each holiday and every little accomplishment throughout life and to make each day special.  That is when I knew –we needed a  Christmas tree this year.

It was a proud tree that topped almost ten feet tall standing on the table. The lower branches cascaded towards the floor. The first, second, and third row of lights were hung across each tree branch with care. But a battle arose with the fourth and fifth string of lights. As soon as they were plugged in, the lights went dark! Scrunching my nose, I thought to myself, “This tree is just not meant to be…” then I sadly walked away.

After taking a short rest and a deep hearty breath, I was ready to tackle the lights on that tree. Digging through boxes of old decorations, I found two new string of lights. But they didn’t match! For these were LEDs. And the lights I had already placed on the tree were strings of incandescent bulbs.

I decided to let things happen naturally and not work so hard to make everything perfect, as I often had throughout my life. So, rather than taking all the lights off the tree, I pulled lights from the branches at my knee and tossed them to the top of that evergreen tree. Scattering the bright LED lights among the warm old-fashioned ones, the wires became a tangled mess. Twisted wire turned into knots.

Taking a few steps back, I looked at each branch, covered with sparkles and wondered if the ornaments would hide that mess of wires I had made inside the tree. Sitting by the fire with my husband by my side, we stared at our half-decorated Christmas tree. Tenderly, he turned and said, “I like the simplicity of this tree.” The LED bulbs appeared to shimmer with a silver cast of light. While the incandescent bulbs sparkled with a warm copper glow.

A simple tree decorated with only lights was an interesting idea that had merit.  And so, I pondered, “Would a quiet, simple Christmas be so bad?” Don’t get me wrong, I love to celebrate! And I look forward to lots of parties and festivities in the coming months and years. But this year’s gift –is time! Time for faith. Time to reflect and give thanks. Realizing this year was going to be a Christmas like no other. Maybe, in some strange way, this shambolic tree was rather symbolic of this year!

My husband was right. The tree was beautiful just the way it was. Just as this year was beautiful, just the way it was! This once unwanted, mismatched, and scarcely decorated Christmas tree had brought us wonderment and joy. And to think, I had almost missed this tree. The tree that taught me; sometimes the most wonderful things happen when you open your heart and mind up to do something different than you never have before.

Wishing you a peaceful feeling as warm as copper-colored lights, enthusiasm as bright as silver lights, and quiet simple pleasures as humble as the bare branches of a tree. Have a Happy Holiday, how ever you celebrate!

Please send me your replies. Let me know if you think my string of lights on my tree will unwind with ease, or will I need a wire cutter to get them off. Tell me one unique way you’ve decorated your Christmas tree. I look forward to hearing all your fun thoughts and ideas.

2 thoughts on “The Tree I Almost Missed”

  1. What a lovely reflection. For me this year, I was alone for Hanukkah and with my Menorah in view of the window each night – the simplicity of placemat, a pot holder and a festive towel along with a mug and a glass were my simple reminders of the holiday – by singing a little bit to myself each night when I lit the candles, I reflected on the Festival of lights much the same way that you reflected on the lights in your simple tree.
    Thanks for sharing this – I hope you have a joyous Christmas.

    1. Sarah, I’m glad to hear you found ways to celebrate Hanukkah alone. And that it brought you joy. Wishing you a happy and healthy new year. Thank you for sharing your story.

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