When I was growing up we always got a live Christmas tree. My dad (armed with bow saw) and my grandfather (armed with a flask of rye for him and a thermos of hot chocolate for me) would head off to a tree farm around Brantford. We got a short needle tree for my dad’s parents, and two medium needle trees for my mom’s parents and us. Our trees went up the week before Christmas and came down on 12th Night.
At my house, Mike and I have always had a live tree too. But in the last few years, he has had to try harder to get a live tree tall enough to not look ridiculous in our tall-ceiling-ed house. Sometimes that means that he has to go to more than one farm to find something big enough. Which makes him punchy and makes him want to get a pretend plastic tree. Which I resist, but he’s the one who has to do the work, so I need to consider. We even went and looked at pretend plastic trees in several places. They were all awful. So last weekend, Mike and Child went out to the farm and got a tree for us, and a tree for my dad. Ours has been up and tethered to the wall (since the Unfortunate Timber of ’14) since Sunday, with one ring of lights on the bottom. Today, maybe, he’ll put the rest on, and then he’ll pass the baton to me to decorate it.
Advent is about a journey, and the Christmas Tree is a perfect metaphor for us. Mike is a Destination guy. I’m a Journey girl – Don’t stop believin’. So for me, looking at that un-lit tree makes me despondent. It means that the decorating is going to be a chore, rather than a joy. It means I’ll only get to “good enough” and no one will notice but me. So maybe a pre-lit stupid plastic tree will help that. *Sigh*
I was listening to a keynote address by Mark Scharenbroich a while ago, and he provided an anecdote where he asked a tollbooth operator how far it was to some location down the turnpike. The TollGuy said “It’s 91 miles, but it’s up to you how long it will take”.
This Advent, may I avoid imposing the success rubric of my journey on the journey of others. May I respect all the journeys underway: the lollygaggers, the folks on a mission, the looky-loos, the Sunday Drivers, and the tactical-strikers, and the stampeders.