Oh Christmas Tree

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, how strong and true God made thee. Your leaves are green when summer’s here. They all are green through winter’s drear.

Finding the right tree seems the hardest part of decorating for Christmas to me and the part I cherish the most. I was raised in Michigan where Dad planted a tree farm. Half was lined with blue spruce and fir trees to sell for the holidays and half with hardwoods for the long run. In the summer we helped with the pruning. After a few years we had trees to cut and sell. So a live tree is the only choice for me.

In Oklahoma there are not too many Christmas tree farms so we go to Bixby and search the rows for a precut. Many years we have found lovely trees at a good price. Some years we visit Owasso and shop their trees. They have some trees that come by semitrucks from up north and can’t be found growing in our hot and dry climate.

We take along baskets of pecans to be cracked and shelled for the holidays and we look over the selection of fruit baskets and canned goods, sweet potatoes, sacks of candies (like orange slices, fudge, and peanut brittle.) We walk around the lot and judge all the trees for size and shape and pray for one with a straight trunk and still soft needles. No matter which ones we like there will be a debate about which is the fullest and prettiest.

Now that our kids are raised Ron and I still go and hunt for that just right tree and when we find it at long last we tie it to the car roof or load it into the truck bed for the trip home.

Home we go with our tree listening to Christmas carols playing on the radio. Sucking on candy canes, we roll along with lots of good cheer. Ron cuts the trunk a few inches when we get home and stands the tree for us. We heat up eggnog or mulled apple cider and drag out the boxes of ornaments. String on those lights and we are all set. It is a miracle almost when the tree lights up. We recall all the years of our childhood and youth and when our grown children were babies. We recite the stories: The cloth dolls and the Mon-chichi, the tree stand fiasco, the dollhouse with a chandelier year, the hairdryer, the magic melting doll buggy mess, the recycled bicycle Christmas. We have so many stories.

We remember the years of low budget and the years of plenty. We remember the programs with bathrobe garbed actors and actresses with towels over their hair or crooked halos. We get out the nativity sets and decide which we like best, glue a wing on an angel and a leg on a camel and remember Josie wrapping baby Jesus in a tissue and tucking him in for the night in Grandpa’s house shoe. Nice and warm. Warm as the cider we sit and sip are the memories.

When the white dove flies to the tree with an olive branch in her beak, we sing “Peace on earth goodwill toward men.”

For unto you is born this day in the City of David a savior who is Christ the Lord.

Luke 2:11

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