Christmas Tree Blessings
A Charlie Brown Christmas celebrated its 50th anniversary last year. When it premiered I doubt TV executives expected the 30-minute special to still be airing annually. Since DVDs and the Internet hadn’t been invented, they sure didn’t think it would still be selling copies online during the 21st century.
Several years ago, my wife picked up what we lovingly call our “Charlie Brown tree,” an artificial named for its sparse appearance that reminds us of the old cartoon. It’s less than a foot tall and contains just a few branches, yet we love to stick a small ornament or two on it this time of year and set it on an end table in the living room.
However, when it comes to real Charlie Brown trees, another life-size creation remains my all-time favorite.
This particular tree stands out for several reasons, starting with its origins. It was a freshly-cut, fragrant creation that came straight out of a Colorado forest. Add to that the fact that its delivery was a complete surprise and it becomes a most memorable experience.
The tree appeared at our front door one Saturday, brought be a couple who had taught a new believer’s class at the church we joined five months after moving to the state. We looked up to them as mature Christians who knew far more than we did, and who helped establish our walk of faith.
As time went on, we became close friends. We went out for dinner regularly, played board games, and went on a couple weekend getaways together. Later, when his employer transferred him to another state, we took a five-day weekend over the Fourth of July and made a 700-mile drive (each way) to see them.
Given the passage of time—three decades—I can’t identify with certainty the source of the tree. As I recall, our friend’s employer owned some property outside of Denver and while they were up there they decided to cut down a tree for us.
Though it stood more than five feet tall, this foliage instantly brought to mind the tree Charlie Brown had on his Christmas show. Unlike the lush green, full trees sold on commercial lots, this one had huge interior gaps. It definitely wouldn’t have won any Good Housekeeping awards.
Yet as we decorated it a few days later, it struck me: what a great tree! Because of its “airy” appearance, the tree allowed us to see numerous ornaments and all the lights we strung around it. It was the best looking, and smelling, tree we’ve ever had.
Its specialness didn’t just come from its unexpectedly-great appearance, but the fact that someone cared enough to take the time to cut down a tree and bring it to us. Those kinds of relationships don’t come along all that often in life. Yet they represent the kind of gift that outlast any Christmas trinkets that will occupy so many people’s attentions this week.
The sad part of the story is that after we moved back east, our friends moved further west and the only contact we have now is through Christmas cards. Yet the memory of that Charlie Brown tree they gave us lives on. Sometimes, blessings come when you least expect them.