My Christmas trees came the other day.
Yes, I know this is the middle of January, but after-Christmas sales being what they are, our small artificial forest arrived in two very large boxes.
Why, you ask? The lighted-reindeer herd had been ailing. Their next-door lawn-ornament friends disappeared in a large moving van one day, along with the garden gnomes. The gardener drove away, not to be seen again, and our reindeer have not glowed since. Poor deer, they are resting from their ten-year labors, replaced by orphaned synthetic clearance-rack firs.
We had to try the trees inside, of course. Five, destined for various lawns, settled in for testing, by the kitchen island. Several “Part C” and two “Part B” fit nicely, but one “Part A” lay lonely on the counter. Are not all “Parts A” the same? I shook my head. That puzzle would wait. The largest tree assembled easily and we escorted it upstairs to the second floor hallway.
“My friend is coming and I want her to see the last reminders of our Christmas,” I rationalized, putting the “special ornaments’ on spindly branches aching for adornment. Silver and china and jasperware, the “real” tree ditched my precious orbs from its drying , drooping limbs; surely this conifer would not despise such antique memory-holders.
Every morning, I startle. My out-of-place January fir with its porcelain-nativity ornament stops me. Christmas trees are for December, or perhaps Epiphany, not cold, gray almost-Valentine’s Days. Mid-step I wonder at the symbol unintentionally dropped in my upstairs hall.
The nativity works nicely in December, but I stumble over the Incarnation in January.
At first, I grumble, lurching to avoid branches on my way down the stairs. Then, remembering, I talk to Jesus. No longer a baby, He is still startlingly with me. On the way down the stairs, I monologue about my out-of-control schedule. In the hallway, I’m complaining. By the kitchen, I’m appreciating His company, and by the car, I’m happy for His help with the day.
Later, in my office, I’m not so compliant, but the point remains. The fir is doing its work to re-orient my days. We rearrange our lives for December trees, but Jesus likes to do that every day. Perhaps I will let my tree stay until Easter.