So, I did a thing. I put up a Christmas tree this year.
I have not had a Christmas tree for the past three years. I haven’t wanted one at all. My husband’s death almost ten years ago now pretty well punctured my Christmas balloon bubble. Oh, as long as I had grandchildren in the house, I pushed myself to put up a tree, but when I moved to my own home alone, the idea of a tree overwhelmed me. I was content, even relieved, with a cup of hot tea and memories. I thought Christmas trees were in my past.
Then this year came the quite clear thought: “I’d like to have a Christmas tree.”
To which I said, “Why in the world would I think that?!“
The idea was silly. I have plenty to do without that effort. I toyed with the idea of getting my son to bring the artificial tree from the attic. But the little sparkling voice within repeated a number of times, “Oh, let’s get a tree–a real tree with colorful lights!”
Then I was driving near Home Depot and there was their Christmas tree tent, with lots of trees that weren’t too large, and the young man wrapped it up and put it in my truck. I came home and there was my neighbor standing outside, as if just waiting to help me get it out of the truck and stuck in a bucket of water. Amazing.
Considering now how easily it all unfolded, I might say I’m living in Valentine, where we all know lovely things happen. It says so right on the blurb for Christmas in Valentine: “Even in the not-so-sleepy town of Valentine, Oklahoma, life has its struggles and heartache, but this is Christmas, after all, the season where both unexpected love and bright miracles can happen, and in Valentine they usually do.”
It is highly probable that my desire for a tree came from the weeks of working on the book, which has been given a new cover treatment and is now once more available in paperback as well as ebook. The print and readability is better than the original! I can read it with my glasses, and that’s saying something. I’m so excited with both the book and my tree!
As I perused the book this morning, I began to chuckle. The first sentence of Chapter One reads: The spirit that attacks everyone at Christmas time and makes them long for home and family attacked Corrine’s mother and kindled in her the gumption to reenter her daughter’s life.
Further into the book, my dear character Marilee Holloway puts forth this truth: “I know some people feel that a Christmas tree is a lot of work, but I encourage you to think about how wonderful you will feel when you have that staunch icon of Christmas spirit to view.”
I believe in the Christmas Spirit. If we listen just a bit to the still small voice of the Spirit within, we will be guided to what is right for us. I smile every time I look at the tree. There is my mother’s antique ball at the top, with barely any color on it; the ‘war ball’ my husband dubbed it because it dates from WWII. There’s a miracle right there–that it has survived these eighty or so years and countless moves. If you look closely, you can see the tinsel. I was careful to drape piece by piece, just a bit of tinsel, and threw the rest in the trash. Ten minutes later, I dug out what I had thrown away and I’ve been adding strands of tinsel every day.
If you’re having difficulty getting into the Christmas spirit, I recommend reading Christmas Comes to Valentine. The people of Valentine bring us laughter and hope and understanding–for ourselves as well as others. In Valentine we are reminded of the miracles to be found everyday in hope, forgiveness, and love.