We’ve moved into the time of year when people begin practicing traditions that have meaning for them. Things they’ve done as long as they can remember. They may not remember the why–they just do it.
Historically (makes it sound like centuries, doesn’t it?) we’ve shopped for our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. I refuse to cave to an artificial tree. I get the downside of buying a fresh tree. It isn’t cost effective. It can present a fire hazard. It never looks as good when you get it home as when you picked it out. It litters the house with needles that drive most everyone else nuts.
I love the smell and look of these beautiful trees–which have been sacrificed on the altar of retail necessity and begin to lose themselves as soon as they’re set up.
When we lived up north we spent the day wandering Christmas tree farms to find the perfect specimen to cut down.
Not a Florida phenomenon. It’s not great weather to grow fir trees nor maintain them once they’re cut.
Four of the kids and three families were with us for this excursion. And they all willingly accompanied us to pick our perfect tree.
My MO is to look at almost every tree in the lot before choosing my favorite. Yes, my favorite. My family does this for me. Tolerating my constant query of, “Which do you like best?” We had a lovely man, Martin, who followed us around and unwrapped any trees that were possibilities. He’d hold two next to each other, answered questions–and gave his own personal preference.
The grands were scattered creating forts among the trussed trees. Everyone had settled in for the dauntless task of choosing.
Well, what to my wondering mind did I do; I chose a tree after only seeing two.
I was done.
We might have been there a total of ten minutes. John must have asked if I was sure at least a dozen times.
We got that second tree. Hang traditions and habits.
How like me to fall into habit patterns for no other reason than it’s the way I’ve done things. There’re many decisions in life that I don’t have to self-obsess about. Listening to others could modify my decisions and shorten the process.
It all comes down to control–and we all long for that. Whether overtly or passive- aggressively, we want to be captains of our destinies. Spending more time listening to what others have to say and less spouting off my opinions might help me see that others have valuable ideas that I could learn from.
Jesus created us to live and work in community–and it’s one of the hardest things any of us could ever do. Seeing others as more important than ourselves. Acknowledging the value of someone else’s thoughts and decisions. Nothing encourages others like giving them their say.
If it’s so important to John, maybe we should consider a fake tree next year.