I put Dad’s Charlie Brown Christmas tree up a few nights ago while I was staying at his house. It took about a minute and a half from start to finish.
He hasn’t decorated for Christmas since Mom died; that was her thing, he’ll tell you. He really doesn’t want to mess with the lights (Ah, the childhood memories of a dozen or more strands laid out on the basement floor to make sure all the bulbs worked.) and “all the things that just take up space.” In truth, he probably doesn’t want to roust all those sad memories.
But last year when I brought the CB tree to Dad, opened the box and showed him how the four pieces went together (including the red ball ornament), then set it on top of the television, he said, “I think I can handle that.”
Hooray! Instant holiday decorations.
The season of Christmas is my favorite time of year because people try a little harder to be respectful and courteous and to think about the needs of others. At other times of the year, a store clerk might mumble “have a nice day” but at Christmas, is more likely to look you in the eye and wish you a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays.
I like that about people.
Maybe I’m living in a fantasy world, but it does feel like people are more loving and more willing to make heartfelt connections.
I’ve read that there is no historical confirmation that December 25th is the day Jesus was born. Apparently no one knows for certain when the great event occurred.
In fact, Dr. Tom Shepherd, professor of theology and church history at Unity Institute and Seminary, writes in the November/December issue of Unity Magazine, “Christmas wasn’t considered an important date until the fourth-century church, when officials decided to create a holiday commemorating the Nativity.”
Dr. Shepherd continues, “Lacking any evidence, Pope Julius I arbitrarily selected December 25, probably because Romans held two popular winter festivals of Saturnalia and Sol Invictus around that time . . . Lengthening days heralded the annual march from cold and darkness to springtime warmth and light, so everyone understood the metaphysical significance of selecting December 25 as the birth of Jesus.
As the centuries passed, the customs that make our Christmases meaningful–Santa Claus, stockings, yule logs, caroling, and this year’s Elf on the Shelf–mix with the spirit of Christmas.
I love it all and this year, perhaps more than any other, I have learned to appreciate the sacredness of Christmas, of doing what is mine to do. Even the week’s unusual circumstances can’t derail my zeal for the holiday.
If Charlie Brown can come to believe that a spindly tree embodies the spirit of Christmas, that’s good enough for me. I know Dad’s tree has comforted me; I hope it gives his heart a lift when he returns home.
Image courtesy of writinginatree.com