I grew up on real Christmas trees. My dad and us girls always trekked out to the tree lot or the forestry to find the most perfect tree our budget afforded. My mom would make apple cider or hot chocolate and we would all hang out ornaments to beautiful background of Christmas melodies.
This particular tradition was one I was not ready to part with, so when I married a guy was content to retrieve a tree from a box under the stairs, there were some compromises to be made.
We agreed that while it was just the two of us, the artificial tree would do, but once we had kids, we would return to the real tree tradition. I was bound and determined to recreate the same memories for my kids that I had growing up.
Why I thought it was a good idea to purchase a real tree once we had small people to haul out in the freezing cold, and have the extra responsibility to keep the tree alive in addition to them, and clean up after a tree in addition to them, I'm not sure. But off we went.
We headed out with our then 8 month old baby to buy our very first and very frozen real tree.
I racked my brain to remember the steps for successful experience from lot to house. I remembered my dad always letting it thaw in the garage but I couldn't remember why so I figured it couldn't have been that important, plus I was impatient and eager to get the thing decorated.
My brilliant solution: let is thaw inside. It's warmer than the garage and will thaw faster.
To make a long story short, it did thaw faster with the added bonus of puddles of water and piles of wet, dead pine needles everywhere. It was. huge mess and my amnesia was cured.
We hauled it back outside (an 8 foot unbundled tree wasn't quite so simple to get through the door) in attempt to loosen some of the dead needles. It seemed like there were thousands.
You can imagine at this point, Mike was such a huge fan of this real tree business. I was laughing. He wasn't. We eventually got it back inside, levelled, secured and decorated it. It was beautiful and smelled delightful.
But then, a week later, the tree mysteriously died. Out the gigantic tree went back through the house, out the door, to Home Depot where the suspicious employee informed me I was the first ever person return a Christmas tree. What can I say — it was a year of firsts.
When I returned home with our new tree, I googled how to keep a tree alive and right after water it regularly, was keep away from heat sources. I looked up and noticed it was positioned a foot away from the fireplace and realized the death of our first tree perhaps wasn’t so mysterious after all.
Amazingly, my husband (through somewhat gritted teeth) continued to keep up his end of the tree deal for the sake of my nostalgia.
Great lengths were gone to in order to preserve and recreate experiences of home.
1: the state of being homesick : homesickness
2: a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for return to or of some past period or irrecoverable condition; also : something that evokes nostalgia
Have you ever noticed we tend to be extra nostalgic about home and family at Christmas? Home is the simplest word with so much weight. We especially long for it at Christmas time.
If home was good, we try to recreate it, and if it wasn't, we try to rewrite it. We feel nostalgic, or even homesick about what was, what wasn’t or what is no longer.
Have you ever wondered why our longing for home seems to be amplified at Christmas? Where does this desire come from?
Interestingly, the Bible has an explanation for this hard-wiring for home we experience in an amplified way at Christmas. Stay tuned as I'll be sharing how these four letters — HOME, point us the home our hearts were made for as we prepare for Christmas together!
What is your favourite Christmas tradition?
What do you love about "home for Christmas?"
(Leave a comment below!)
I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.
Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.
May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully.
Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Ephesians 3:16-20 (NLT)