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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas traditions

When our oldest daughter had just turned one, my wife and decided to move (actually, I got a job...which I try not to do too often.) So on the day after Thanksgiving we bundled up ourselves, including the new toddler, and went and bought a live Christmas tree for our new house.

Both of us had experience with live Christmas trees, but in the last years of our lives we usually used the artificial variety...so this was our first live Christmas tree as parents, and we were excited. So we bought a tree that we thought would fit into the space we had set aside in our living room. Since the ceiling was only 7 ft,we concentrated on not getting one too tall, and as we tied the tree to the top of our truck, we were very happy at our purchase. Christmas would have a grand tree!

Of course, it was too tall, so after much trimming on the trunk and a few lower branches, we just were able to squeeze it into the room, and scrunch the angel on top, as her (0r his, you can never really tell with angels) halo nestled against the popcorn ceiling. And the tree fell over...
So, we adjusted a few screws, reset the tree in the stand...and it fell over again...and again...and again...and after 30 minutes it was pretty clear that this tree was a bit too crooked to stand by itself. On to the baling wire!

Drilling a screw into the wall, and using baling wire, we were able to rope the tree into a semi-vertical position, that once the lights and ornaments were on it gave the tree a reasonable facsimilie of a Christmas tradition...And then the branches thawed and fell open and open and open so that we had about 2 feet of space between the end of the branches and the kitchen counter...and did I mention we had a toddler? After this we put the kid to bed...

My wife came down, looked at the tree tied to the wall, branches spreading out across the entire living room floor, a couple of boxes of ornaments scattered on the floor (compliments of our daughter's budding organizational sklls), and me drinking a beer already exhausted with Christmas..."Who died, and made us the adults," she asked?

I am happy to report that 20 Christmases later we have succeeded in maintaining a Christmas tree...although we went totally artificial in 1996...but this year...No tree...the tradition is on hiatus. We have three households now, and we will be graced if we can all get together for even a few days around Christmas. (As both my wife and I work on Christmas Eve and often Christmas Day, celebrating on the actual days of Christmas is often not an option.) But the tradition of the tree has never been about the tree...it's always been a sign of us taking care of our daughters, taking care of each other, remembering who takes care of us...And we may not have a tree this year to help us with that remembering, but we are forever grateful for our love together as "adults," and for the kids who let us be their parents...and for the the God of love who just lets us be.

May your tables be full, and your conversations be true.

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