I’ve heard in ancient times, that the Christmas tree came about after people hung lights on trees, so that spiritual wanderers could find their way home on Christmas eve. Or something like that.
For me, I have a lot of childhood memories of the tree, and its decorations. Not so pleasant ones! We frequently had power struggles over who was going to put the angel on the top, or hang the glass Saint Nick ornament. Who was going to be in charge of the tinsel? My parents would always get into raging arguments, too, over the whole thing. Mom wanted us to eat a lot of cookies and cakes she had made. Dad wanted to put up the sincerely ugliest lights he’d bought at some tacky discount store.
I remember stories of other families gathered together, joyously singing Christmas carols, venturing out into the deep frozen snowy woods to find a tree — all agreed by everyone happily, lovingly — that this was the perfect tree. Then, strong daddy cutting it with his manly saw, and then they’d drag it back home, together, and with cups of wassail and eggnog (non-alcoholic for the kiddies) decorate it together with total familial family joy and peace profound.
Not the case in our dysfunctional family. We had a metallic tree from K-Mart. Made in Hong Kong. We had fights for Christmas. Being the littlest, I’d always entertain visions of sugar plums dancing in my head, and end up totally disappointed and crying. I’d end up feeling completely left out and uncared for. Then, Mom would swoop in and defend me, and I’d get to put a decoration or two up, and hang a few shreds of tinsel, and turn on the automatic spinning tree rotator, and watch the changing colors. With everyone else resentful of my status of being youngest.
In my adulthood, I’ve tried hard to make sure everyone in our family got a chance to feel loved and important around the tree trimming. We all got opportunities to pick the tree. We’ve gone into the woods and cut down trees. We’ve all hung decorations, and done our best to make sure everyone felt loved, appreciated and important.
We all put lights on the tree, to guide each other’s way to Christ, on Christmas eve, with love.