Christmas Tree in the Dark
The house is quiet. No television. No music. The children are asleep. It’s also dark. No night lights. No bathroom light to keep you from stubbing your toes during those midnight wanderings. All of the lights, that is, except one. Well, more than one, really. But, they’re all in one place, wrapped around a tree. Our Christmas tree.
Last night all of the kids decorated it as part of our annual tree trimming party. Another holiday tradition. One of the rules is that however the children hang the ornaments that is where they remain until we take the tree down on New Year’s Day. There’s no shuffling, no straightening, and, at times, it drives the girls’ sense of order off just a bit. We instituted the “Pretty Tree” for that very reason about five years ago. This tree, the “Present Tree,” is for the children. And me.
I watched them put those ornaments on the tree. Some were rushed, so the little hands with excited fingers could hurry back for another decoration. It was almost as if they were having a contest to see who can put up the most of the odd Assortment of figures and globes.
Others, however, took their time, searching for just the perfect spot to hang the treasure that dangled from their hand. They weren’t in a race; they were on a mission. They weren’t just hanging ornaments, but creating an expression of themselves of the Christmas tree they saw in their mind. How do you rearrange what tiny hands took such effort to do? It’s for that reason I don’t allow the ornaments to be moved regardless how lopsided the tree may appear. And it does get lopsided sometimes and bare at others.
It’s that tree that I’m staring at right now. In the quiet. In the dark. The angel at the top holds two candles and the multicolored strands of light illuminate each individual piece hanging from a silver hook. I stare while holding a cup of coffee. I stare and the tree…..speaks.
You may think I’m being silly and have lost it, but it’s a part of the Christmas magic. Sitting there in the silent darkness, the Christmas tree has a soothing peaceful presence that you can’t help but to take inside of you. I’ve watched my parents do it. I’ve seen the girls do it, as well. They’ll be sitting there just staring at the tree, allowing it to speak to them.
And it does speak. What does it say? It promises that life is going to be okay. You’re going to make it and that the good in man will triumph over the evil the world has to offer. It reminds us of the past and we flip through the ornaments as if flipping through a photo album of days gone by. It speaks words of comfort and serenity and if we’re quiet we can breathe in those promises and, even though we may shed a tear or two at the memories, we walk away stronger for the sharing.
I don’t understand it, but who can really understand magic? Yet, there is something about sitting in front of a Christmas tree in the dark that is almost like meditation or even praying. It’s a communion of past, present, and future. It’s a stress reliever and a massager of the soul. I can understand if you don’t believe me. That just means you’ve never tried it. So, this year, I suggest you give it a whirl. Turn off the lights and the television, fix yourself a drink, and then just sit and admire the wonder of the Christmas tree. You’ll find yourself savoring the cleansing serenity as well as the nostalgic musings, I guarantee it. Don’t rush this moment. Don’t think of what else you could be doing. This is one of life’s breaks. Take it. Relish it. Because the magic fades on January first for another year and you will need these quiet moments to get you through the coming year and what it brings. So slow down and enjoy the Christmas magic. I promise it will be worth it.
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