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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Trees (12/05/05)

TITLE: Special Trees in Memory Lane
By Donna Haug
12/12/05


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Special Trees in Memory Lane
December 12, 2005


Setting up the Christmas tree is quite a tradition in our home. I recall once when I was a child, my father once made a tree for us – out of a broom stick, twine, and wire! We’ve had real trees that have dried up so thoroughly by the time we took it down, that we were picking pine needles out of our carpet for weeks afterwards. We’ve had artificial trees that we have set up for a week before Christmas and taken down on Christmas day because of a planned two-week trip beginning on Boxing Day! One year we even spent Christmas camping beside a nice warm beach. Our faithful Christmas tree, with its lights all aglow, was planted right behind our tent.

This year I almost forgot! With temperatures reaching 40 degrees Celsius and moving day just around the corner, Christmas was the last thing I was thinking about. We were well into the second week of December, and putting up my tree had not even crossed my mind! While talking to a family member who lives in a much colder climate, I was amazed at my lack of “Christmas spirit”.

On Saturday, I made a deal with the kids. “Hey, guys. What do you think of this? If I can find the tree in the middle of all our moving boxes out in the storage shed, would you like to help me set up our Christmas tree today?”

“Yeah! Great idea, Mom!”

Fifteen minutes later, I was covered in dust from head to toe, but held a tree box and a container of ornaments triumphantly in my hands! We all pitched in, and soon the tree had its branches spread out semi-evenly. My thirteen and three-quarters year old daughter said, “Hey, I don’t remember the tree being that short!”

“Just goes to show how much you’ve grown in a year, my love!” I said, looking wonderingly at what used to be my little girl. I turned away to hang a hand-made ornament on the tree that held a picture of this very same young lady in days gone by.

“Our First Christmas Together”

“Baby’s first Christmas”

“Merry Christmas, Mom and Dad” written in squiggly handwriting inside a star card.

The memories come flooding back.

What is it about Christmas that makes us so nostalgic? Is it wrong to enjoy the Christmas customs we so enjoy back home? Does it take away from the true meaning of the season? My husband and I mulled these questions over in our minds as we lay in bed that night. The birth of my Lord will always be the true meaning of Christmas. But family and friends are also very important to Him. I don’t think he minds too terribly when we enjoy the outer trappings of the season, as long as it doesn’t eclipse the whole purpose of the celebration.

This year we will have our first Christmas in a very long time without any family around at all. Most of our colleagues will be away as well. I think this year we will celebrate Jesus’ birthday in a quiet way. Just Him and us. I don’t think He’ll mind.

“Mom, what is it about a Christmas tree that makes you want to cuddle up in a blanket in the dark and stare at the lights?” Ignoring the 30 degree temperatures at 11 p.m., my thirteen and three-quarter year old had bundled herself up in a blanket on the couch to sleep.

I don’t know, my baby. But I feel the same way. Maybe I’ll just sit here for a while in the rocking chair and enjoy one more tree planted in Memory Lane.


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This article has been read 1201 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Naomi Deutekom12/12/05
Good job, great memory.
Marilyn Schnepp 12/12/05
"...celebrate Jesus birthday in a quiet way, just Him and us". I was going to say that "Him and us", grammar-wise, doesn't sound proper. "He and us?" "He and we?" "we and Him"? Truthfully it is irrelevant - it is the thought that counts, and I think that is beautiful! Quiet time alone with the ONE we celebrate in this season. Lovely and well written.
Sandra Petersen 12/14/05
I liked your title! In your second sentence one of the 'onces' should be removed; I would recommend the first.
Your reflection on pick-the-needles-out-of-the-carpet syndrome is well-noted; I can relate.
"One year we even spent Christmas camping beside a nice warm beach. Our faithful Christmas tree, with its lights all aglow, was planted right behind our tent." This sounds so delightful! I could picture it!
The last four paragraphs touched me deeply, especially "I think this year we will celebrate Jesus’ birthday in a quiet way. Just Him and us. I don’t think He’ll mind." and "Maybe I’ll just sit here for a while in the rocking chair and enjoy one more tree planted in Memory Lane." With God's help and your inspirational article maybe I'll do the same!

Sandra Petersen 12/14/05
I like your title.
Your second sentence needs to have one of the onces removed; I suggest the first one.
I relate to the pine-needles-stuck-in-the-carpet syndrome!
"One year we even spent Christmas camping beside a nice warm beach. Our faithful Christmas tree, with its lights all aglow, was planted right behind our tent." This sounded so delightful!
The last four paragraphs are well-worded! My favorites: "I don’t think he minds too terribly when we enjoy the outer trappings of the season, as long as it doesn’t eclipse the whole purpose of the celebration.", "celebrate Jesus’ birthday in a quiet way. Just Him and us. I don’t think He’ll mind.", and "Maybe I’ll just sit here for a while in the rocking chair and enjoy one more tree planted in Memory Lane." Maybe,for the first times in a few years, I'll do the same. Thanks for inspiring me!
Sandra Petersen 12/14/05
Oops! Sorry! Had to answer the phone and thought I had lost my first review.
Cassie Memmer12/16/05
Delightful nostalgia. I enjoyed your writing. Good job!
Jan Ackerson 12/16/05
Lovingly written; just beautiful.

I belive that "just Him and us" is correct. It's not a common construction, but it's perfectly fine.

You described your memory trip very tenderly, I enjoyed reading it.
Suzanne R12/16/05
Beautiful memories.

I grew up in a land of hot Christmas' (Australia) but now live in a land of cold Christmas in as much as Christmas is celebrated at all, so I especially identified with your 'Christmas away from home' thoughts and your hot Christmas' thoughts, but kind of backwards ;-)

Well written and touching.
Pat Guy 12/18/05
A beautiful glimpse into your family's quiet moments of life. It was quiet on that first night for Mary and Joseph also. Just them, God and creation. Beautiful!