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Fourth Sunday in Advent: Trimming the Tree

The fervor with which a child awaits the decorating of the tree is soon balanced by the peace that beautifully decorated evergreen fosters in her.

A child experiences peace when gazing upon a fully trimmed Christmas tree.
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“We observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” Matthew 2:2 (NRSV)

Our Christmas tree was a big deal. Mom whipped us into such a frenzy of waiting that when the appointed day came for the tree, we were beside ourselves. But what a day! Two Sundays before Christmas, after church, Christmas records were stacked on the record player and my father would wrestle the tree into our house.

Then the lights—gazillions of lights! We didn’t touch them; Dad had to test them before stringing them on the tree. Then he would twine them deep inside the branches; Mom didn’t like to see the cords. Finally, Dad, breathing relief, would retreat as the boxes were pulled from the spare room where they’d waited since Thanksgiving.

The big brown boxes were patched and ugly, but what treasures they held: angels, stars and miniature Nativities; homemade ornaments, store-bought ornaments, “Nana” ornaments my grandmother made, old ornaments from my mother’s childhood; and some unclassifiable odds and ends. Mom, my sister Lori and I would get to work, putting them up as music filled the house. Then we had garlands of some gold-colored stuff to drape on the branches.

The short December Sunday flew by. We waited, breathless, in the darkened house for my father to plug in the lights. When he did, though it didn’t seem possible, our racing pulses slowed and we breathed deeply the light and warmth.

In that glow was peace, the antidote to the frenzy that had gripped us, a taste of what would come with Jesus.

Jesus, let me seek and find Your peace in all my Christmas busyness.

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