Is your Christmas tree standing proudly and shining brightly in your home? Putting up our family Christmas tree has thrilled me since I was a little girl. The silver one with bright red balls and a revolving light stands out in my mind. The year mother finally agreed to ‘let it go’ and get a green one again made her little girl happy. Truthfully, any kind of Christmas tree makes me happy. What about you?
Stories of Christmas tree miracles and mayhem are surely recounted in every home when families gather to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year. Your favorite tree tale is taking you to a Christmas long, long ago or maybe last year as you reflect while reading my story.
Remembering our first tree that fell in the middle of the night, the one that kept Tim’s secret (my diamond) on its top branch in 1982, the pitiful one we just couldn’t make pretty, the pencil tree that touched the ceiling and captivated my heart, the live one … and last tree we decorated together before Tim went to Heaven that lives in our garden and shines as I write, makes my heart smile.
Then there’s the tree James led me to on our first Christmas together to find my gift hiding inside its branches The cross necklace he gave clings close to and gives comfort to my healing heart as I write. Last year’s singing Christmas tree was the most frustrating, forlorn, and fascinating of them all. James and I bought the tree on our first ‘after Christmas’ shopping trip in 2013. We were like little kids in a candy store pushing the cart that held our singing tree to our car. Waiting a whole year to put it up seemed like an eternity.
When James met me at the door on a cool November day and made me close my eyes, I knew he was up to something special. Leading me to our foyer to find his surprise was a red letter moment. Our tree stood tall with shining lights but no singing. Trying to make the high tech tree come alive tore our nerves to pieces. It was beautiful standing silently, but we knew its potential. Desiring for it to do what it was made to do and bless many people meant we would not give up on our tree.
The memory of us sitting together in our big chair, hearing our Christmas tree sing, and watching colorful lights dance for the first time is a gift I will forever treasure. James beamed with joy for his persistence made it possible for our tree to come alive. Everyone who came during Christmas had to hear our Christmas tree story before experiencing its grandeur. James and I could hardly wait to finish dinner during the holiday season and dance to tunes our tree performed just for us. Many nights we cuddled close – being completely captivated by the beauty of our Christmas tree and our love. Little did we know our time together was soon to end the last time we watched our singing tree perform.
Two days after Christmas, Jesus called James to his heavenly Home. Our home here was filled with family and friends who came to comfort. The tree James loved stood stoic, strong, and silent in our foyer. Memories of James’ smiling face seemed to shine through the tree he bought and brought to life.
Selfishly, I said ‘no’ to those who wanted to experience its beautiful light shows and singing. Yet, my heart stirred to let it sing as King David did in sunshine or sorrow. So, I said ‘yes’. When the singing and lights lit up our home on that sad December day, I felt the presence of the Lord filling my heart with peace and promise.
Do we, God’s children, go through life standing silently like our Christmas tree did for the longest time? He created us in His image and filled us with many gifts to give and blessings to share. We were made to shine for Jesus in all seasons, even when remaining silent seems safer. Getting stuck in our sorrow, sadness, situations, even comfort zones can keep us from being and doing all He planned for us to be and do here. Yet, our Creator, heavenly Father, best Friend, never gives up on us. He keeps watching and waiting for us to give Him our hearts and experience the power of His gifts at a greater level than one can imagine. He guides our paths and bears the yoke when we plug ourselves in to His never ending supply of grace and forgiveness. Trusting, obeying, praising, and worshipping Him through it all keeps us singing and dancing ‘till Jesus comes to take us Home.
May this Christmas season be a time when all silent Christians come to the aid of our Creator. Through Him, we have the power to help change things. Loving actions and attitudes of His children can teach the world to sing and dance in perfect harmony.
Let us stand tall in these tough times and enjoy the good life of being closely connected to Christ. When we get in gear, give Him the reins, and realize He is the power supply that provides all we need to be and do what He created and called us to be and do…we can sleep in heavenly peace and all our days will be merry and bright!
Becky Spell Vann is a long-time columnist for the Sampson Independent’s Faith & Family section and owner of the outreach ministry Tim’s Gift.