Advent Journey: Was Lost, but now I’m Standing Beside a Tree

Photo by Leah Kelley on

There is a theory. printed in all Walt Disney World guidebooks, online forums, and vacation tip sheets that encourages you have a Meet Up point for your family. If you split up (on purpose, or by the nature of the throngs of folks in the park at, say, parade or fireworks time), your Meet Up point is the spot where you reconviene. Now, if you were in a 100+ acre park, with a giant powder blue castle at the center of it, where d’ya think it would be a good place to re-connect with your (temporarily) estranged family? Maybe a place that everyone can see, no matter where, in the 100+ acre park you might find your little lost self? Like, say, the giant powder blue castle? Yeah, that’s the same idea that everyone and their brother (and their cousin and their grandma) had too. Because whether you’re lost in a crowd milling around the forecourt of a giant powder blue castle or you’re lost on a 100+ acre property no where near the powder blue castle, lost still be lost.

So today, as I spent the day at the One of a Kind Craft Show, an announcement came over the public address saying that if you’ve become separated from your party, meet at The Tree. This is a very large craft show with 600 vendors from across Canada. It’s easy to get turned around, or to SQUIRREL! into a vendor booth, and suddenly, your associates are in the wind. So in any given minute in that huge convention center, 37.2% of the attendees have lost at least one member of their party. I could be making that statistic up. But it could be true, you don’t know. I can say that in the 4 hours we spent there, I lost half my party 22 times, and three-quarters of my party 17 times more. We didn’t all go scurrying to The Tree.

Perhaps I should explain. The Tree is a giant, Rockefeller-esque Christmas tree at the center of the venue that, no matter where you are, in and amongst the 600 booths, you can see. It’s a good place to meet, if you’re lost. In theory, anyway. Unless the 37.2% of attendees are also milling around at the foot of The Tree. Then, yeah, maybe notsomuch.

I have a friend who is a very tall woman – she’s easily over 6 feet tall. Her brothers are taller than that. She tells a story about how, whenever their family goes anywhere and they get separated, they just Meet at Pete. Pete is the tallest of the siblings, so he can be seen above the heads of the more-average-height crowd around him. Pete didn’t have to know where everyone else was, he only needed to know where everyone needed to be. Everyone else would follow him, because they could keep him in their line of sight.

So as we were preparing to leave the show in the afternoon, I was thinking about the Meet at Pete/The Tree/the Castle Forecourt method of finding and being found. For the system to work, you need to look up – to locate Pete, to head toward the tree or the castle – then trust that those things are acting as a cynosure.

Like, say, a star.

Two thousand years ago.

This Advent when I’m feeling lost, would that I find the polestar that leads me to what I’m REALLY looking for.

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