As I hung our children’s home made Christmas ornaments on our freshly cut tree, stories in the media and Facebook comments blinked in and out of my mind like our tree lights. Do I truly believe others are taking away my Christmas? Are they taking away Jesus? Does it matter if my Christmas tree is called a Christmas tree or holiday tree? People’s anger and negative comments hurt my heart more, WHY?
It hit me hard one day before Christmas while I worked. As I finished folding a report and slid it into the envelope a mother and her son just finishing their appointment grabbed their coats off the metal coat stand. I wheeled my chair to a clearing where I could see the little boy and mom and said, “You are welcome to grab one little gift off the Christmas tree. There is a company each year that donates gifts for the children.” The mom replied, “We are Jehovah witness and don’t believe in Christmas but thank you so much.” And off they went.
This little boy didn’t take a gift. Christmas is about giving. Giving what? Due to the nature of where I worked what did it mean to that company that EACH child got a gift? Does it matter he didn’t get a gift? To my heart it did matter because to me Christmas is about giving to everyone in all circumstances. Right? That is what Jesus did and last time I checked I am following Him not a tradition of a tree. My heart started pumping excitedly as I walked back to where co-workers were and asked, “Is it ok if I take some of the little gifts and put them in a different pile away from the tree?” I then explained about the little boy. “No the gifts are for the tree, for Christmas and that is their choice they don’t take one,” unfortunately sums up the response I tried to allow to rip through my ears and block from my heart.
So let me ask, as Christians we so badly need our “Christmas” tree and how dare someone tell us not to call it that, are they really taking CHRISTmas? Are we so angry that that little boy couldn’t have been giving a gift just because it was for a special child and he needs to feel loved at a special time for us? The revelation hit! The prickly stump can be called a Holiday tree or a Christmas tree. I could have one or not have one. My house will have Jesus at Christmas; no one can ever take that away, no one. So let them take away the name of the tree I will actually even let them take the tree.
As they pack up my tree I cry as visibly in its place is the cross. A child like moment after where I laugh and say, “Na Na Na boo boo you can take the tree because it doesn’t take Christmas.” Under that cross are gifts that are mine and even the gift to still love those who don’t celebrate Jesus. Picking up the pine needles and tinsel left behind I put the pieces to the cross and pray, “Thank you papa that as people take away our tree you were there, you are there, you will always be there. I see even more now Lord Christmas is not about a tree or worldly traditions. Also Father thanks that now we don’t have to worry about getting rid of a tree. AMEN”