Monday, November 26, 2007

A Tale of Cheer and a Tale Most Drear(y)

It’s Christmastime! I have two true stories for you to illustrate how my holiday season is shaping up so far.

The Tale Most Drear(y) first:

JB and I always get a live tree for Christmas. It’s a tradition we started the first year we were married: we cut down our own Christmas tree from the nearby Christmas tree farm the weekend after Thanksgiving. This year, the selection was not quite what it has been in the past, possibly due to the draught we had all summer and fall. But this past Friday we cut one down nevertheless—well, Jeff cut one down while I watched and called encouragement—and brought it home.

Once it was in the tree stand, we discovered how wonky it really was. The two positioning options we had were:

1. Position the fullest side to the front, and have the tree look like it’s leaning about 15 degrees to the right.
2. Position it so that it looks like it’s standing up straight, but there are gaping holes facing the front.

I finally chose option 2 after having JB rotate the tree about 20 times, figuring maybe we could fill in the holes with lights and ornaments. So we did. And though we had to reposition the tree a few times over the weekend to keep it from looking like it was leaning, all seemed to be well.

Now comes the bad part. At 1:30 a.m. this morning, we awoke to a great crash and the heart-sinking sound of breaking glass. Our tree had finally toppled over.

We dashed downstairs to survey the damage. Jeff righted the tree while I scooped up fallen ornaments. The final tally of devastation was, fortunately, not as bad as it could have been. We only had three ornaments completely broken. One was a harlequin-patterned glass sphere which was pretty, but didn’t have much sentimental value. Another had an image of the New York City skyline we got during our trip to NYC in 2006. We can go again sometime and get another one. But the third was a clay bell from Budapest—not so easily replaced. Luckily, it broke into about three or four big pieces, and I have high hopes for gluing it back together.

Jeff and I took the rest of the ornaments off the tree until we can get it righted and secured. They’re resting on a table already filled with our nativity scene figures—including one headless wise man. Yep, he was another casualty of the tree, although he was decapitated when Jeff was bringing the tree into the room and the top of the tree knocked him off the table. His head is still intact (it was a clean break) and I have high hopes for gluing him back together as well.

Ah, the Christmas carnage. Wreaked by our wonky tree.

But now for the good news, the Tale of Christmas Cheer:

JB and I went shopping early on Black Friday. I was waiting for him at the entrance to a mall department store, and was so absorbed in poring over the Christmas lists from my family that I barely noticed a woman nearby struggling with three enormous, bulky shopping bags—they were about the size of garbage bags. I only looked up when another lady came along, also on her way out, and said to the first lady, “Here, I’m going to take at least one of those bags for you. Where are you parked?” The first lady could not have been more grateful, and it was obvious the two didn’t know each other. The first explained her car was just outside and said, “With four children and a lazy husband, I’m having a tough time.” The second lady chuckled and shouldered one of the enormous bags, and the two left the store together.

I felt blessed just to witness the exchange. It wasn’t a major event—nobody was donating millions to the Salvation Army or hauling in thousands of toys for Toys for Tots—but it summed up the Christmas season for me:

God sent Jesus as his ultimate gift to us, to save us and to set the example for how we’re to live our lives. What better Christmas gift for Him than to follow that example by loving our neighbors—including the ones we’ve never met—in actions great and small?


rissy roo said...

sad day!! i know how heart-breaking a tree crash can be :( but i will say, with superglue and LOTS of patience, miracles can happen. so glad i got to see you this past weekend!!!! we must plan on doing something for christmas, hopefully with amanda in tow :)

Casey said...

:o ) So sorry to hear about the tree. I have to admit though, I had a good giggle at your description of the "wonky tree"!