Less adorned this time,
but still lots of memories.
Wednesday, December 02, 2015
A Memory Tree (by Peter A. Black)
Our Christmas tree stands in our livingroom, handsomely adorned with a multitude of decorations. Its limbs bear miniature lights, shiny multicoloured balls and silvered icicle spirals that gently spin when we walk by. There are also faux crystal snowflakes and icicles, among a host of cute, colourful tree decorations, too numerous to mention.
But our festive tree is more than a seasonal display of colour and dollar store trinkets, although many do lend to its glory. I reckon it’s a memory tree, for several reasons. For example: Two dainty white crocheted angels remind my wife and me of our time in Watford, Ontario, and Guide Country. ‘Grandma’ Tippel was more than one hundred years old and residing in Victoria Manor, a care residence, when she fashioned them. A cute wishing well was made by another acquaintance.
Several needlepoint items were the handiwork of our youngest son Jerome and his buddy Heather, when they were in elementary school, three decades ago. Heather’s now married and mother of three children. Jerome’s in his nineteenth year in school teaching. He's deeply engaged in theatre – acting and singing, and sometimes directing.
A paper pie plate decoration our youngest granddaughter Abigail made at Miss Teresa’s preschool has a manger scene and the message, Jesus: God’s Gift to the World. She’s in grade five now.
Memories. My wife recalls where many more of the tree ornaments came from than I do – such as gifts from children she child-minded or baby-sat and who are now adults. Naturally, she has a deeper connection than I with those items on the tree.
Do you associate decorative pieces on your Christmas tree or other seasonal decorations with people from your past or present? Just the other day I realized that the answers May gave to my enquiries as to how we acquired some of ours increased my enjoyment of the season.
Memories. Our parents weren’t able to give my sisters and me fancy or expensive gifts. I don’t view this as a disadvantage now, though. Instead, I’m convinced that it taught us gratitude and appreciation for the simple, small things, and to marvel at the kindness shown to us by others. Occasionally, more expensive gifts came to us from people outside the family. Often they were people whom our parents had helped out in some way.
So much for memories associated with our tree and its pretty ornaments. Each year the Christmas tree reminds me that the One who is the First Cause of all Creation came from realms of heavenly glory and, for a time, made His home on earth amongst the poor and lowly. His first earthly dwelling was an animal shelter and His bed a manger cradle.
My grateful musings don’t end there, for the Christmas tree also urges my thoughts forward more than thirty years in the gospel narratives, to the cross. Of all the trees in Palestine at that time, one – perhaps haphazardly chosen – was honoured to bear his wounded broken body, serving as the ultimate altar of sacrifice.
Yes, that tree was no doubt growing during the time that this Child grew from his bed in manger hay to manhood; the Child who was destined to die upon the tree in gruesome agony and blood, as the Saviour and Redeemer of the world.
The apostle Paul didn’t have an ornamented Christmas tree to brag about, for the tradition began centuries later. And yet he said, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Galatians 6:14 NIV).
Paul memorialized The Tree – the spiritual reality and ideal of the Cross – and lived out its meaning.
Do you have a ‘memory tree’? Enjoy your tree and cherish your memories, but don't forget The Tree and the One who hung upon it.
The original edition of the above updated and adapted article was published in The Watford Guide-Advocate, Dec. 11, 2014.
Peter's second book is a compilation of inspirational articles on a variety of themes from his weekly column. These are interspersed with brief expressions intended to encourage. Ebook edition is available through Amazon.
ISBN: 978-0-9920074-2-3 (Angel Hope Publishing)
Peter's first book: “Parables from the Pond” – a children's / family book (mildly educational, inspirational in orientation, character reinforcing). Finalist – Word Alive Press. ISBN: 1897373-21-X. The book has found a place in various settings with a readership ranging from kids to senior adults.Black's inspirational column, P-Pep! appears weekly in The Standard Guide-Advocate (of Southwestern Ontario). His articles have appeared in 50 Plus Contact and testimony, and several newspapers in Ontario.
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