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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Christmas Tree (10/09/08)

TITLE: Ever Green
By Judith Gayle Smith


Are you tired of all the naysayers quoting Jeremiah to spoil Christmas trees for us all? Of being accused of worshipping in the groves when you've just spent hours and precious gasoline dollars to choose just the perfect tree for your family/great/living room?

Not to neglect those somber old worrywarts who angst over possible faulty electrical connections and dry pine needles! Utlity bills. And just who doesn't love the colorfully dancing bubble lights? Watch the kitten bat all the glass ornaments off the tree. Keep the dog away from it. Pretty lights blinking different colors. And some people even use strobe and disco lights to really make it all POP.

Sure glad that no one decorates their tree with real lit candles anymore, though. Had my hair catch on fire once.

Ah - the scent of fresh cut pine fragrancing the entire house. Air fresheners cannot duplicate it. Who doesn't appreciate the real thing? Who isn't disappointed to come home from work and be met with apple pie scented room freshener instead of a real apple pie? We even like the scent of pine in our cars, after all.

The awe and wonderment with which bright eyed eager children turn from their television commercial wish lists to briefly gaze at the breathless exquisiteness of a lavishly decorated spruce/pine/fir climbing to the ceiling - topped with angel/star/whatever. The hours spent making paper and popcorn garlands - even popcorn balls tied with bright red and green ribbons to hang from its heavy-laden branches. Everyone really works hard to decorate. Better yet - nine foot ceilings by staircases to trail the greenery up the railing. Do they still make cardboard Christmas fireplaces, I wonder...

And why not continue the festive finery to festoon all the bedrooms? The dining room needs decorations - perhaps a tree with ornaments all the same color.

Did you remember to buy the Santa toilet seats, Christmas tree mats and Reindeer shower curtains for the bathrooms?

Oops. Forgot. Just might not be that festive this year. Poor economy. Homelessness. Long sad lines at community soup kitchens. Why - the very idea puts such a rotten damper on Christmas. I know - let's donate trees to the homeless. Even decorate them to cheer these poor folk. Don't be surprised if they start bonfires with them to keep warm. Fa la la. Folderol.

Back to good old Jeremiah - the spoil sport. Why, he even makes it sound like idol worship if you have a Christmas tree! The very idea! Some diehard Fundamentalist Christians go so far as to suggest that tree seekers are worshipping in the groves. Bah. Humbug. Spoilers of fun, festoonery, festivity - and frivolity.

What's that? Why puncture the Christmas tree balloon? You say the tree is in celebration of Jesus's birth? I don't remember reading in the Gospel of Luke about one. Was it hiding in a corner of the Inn? Was it flocked, tinseled, garlanded in anticipation of His birth?

I have a most unpopular theory about the Christmas tree - beyond all the dire warnings against pagan worship. The Christmas tree is a shrine for the gifts on the floor.

Now I did it. The last time I said that I was almost tarred and feathered. I wrote a letter to the editor of the little town newspaper I subscribed to - stating exactly that. Someone wrote that it is a good thing, as Mark Twain once wrote - to hang an occasional Preacher.

Don't believe me when I say that it is a shrine? Tell people not to have one this year. Spend all the money and time they would spend purchasing and decorating trees on Bibles and Bible reading.

Wowser. Dull thud. Been there, done that.

Bingle jells.

Jeremiah 10:1-5 (King James Version):

[1] Hear ye the word which the Lord speaketh unto you, O house of Israel:
[2] Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.
[3] For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.
[4] They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.
[5] They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Lynn Jacky 10/16/08
Hi - glad I stopped by to read this one. You are taking a big chance at being shot at sunrise. ha.... I'm with you all the way I think Christmas has lost its original intent and focus, way too commercialized etc... and what revelation I never realized Jeremiah had a word for this - sure makes one think. There is a lot of truth to your words. Thank you for sharing and I like the way you wrote, and tackled this delicate issue. Great writing and Good luck in future stories.
Lollie Hofer10/16/08
I actually like the sarcasm here. I found myself laughing out loud a time or two. Your point is well taken - we do get carried away with our man-made religious holidays a bit. Okay, I've got to ask...how in the world did you catch your hair on fire?
Marlene Austin10/19/08
I would think your home has little warmth, light, or joy if you don't indulge in the "family" sharing time of children-made decorations on a tree. I disagree that a Christmas tree is a "shrine". I see it as a natural reminder of the birth of my Savior and creator of the world; light added to a very dark, cold winter month (at least, where I live); an aid to dispelling depression; and a symbol of hope- that the wood of a tree is where Jesus died for sin so that we could have life abundant. I guess it all depends on the attitude you bring to the "looking" at the tree. :)