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December 13, 2004 - "The Christmas Tree" by Laura Young

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"Christmas means giving--and 'the gift without the giver is bare.' Giving of self; giving of substance; giving of heart and mind and strength in assisting those in need and in spreading the cause of His eternal truth-- these are of the very essence of the true spirit of Christmas." ~Gordon B. Hinckley



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"The Christmas Tree"
by Laura Young

Our neighbors were putting their Christmas decorations in their yard and on the outside of their house. "Daddy, daddy, wait for me" came the voice of the small daughter as she tried to keep up with her father. As I listened to my neighbors, I heard echoes that are forever etched in the recesses of my memory of a time long ago when my voice was the same as this child.

One of the highlights of the Christmas season at our house was the day that we went into the woods to look for our Christmas tree. The four of us would get into our pickup truck and drive the few miles to the farm where my dad lived as a child. The house had long ago been torn down and only remnants of a few flowers remained to show that a family had once lived there. The land had been covered with trees and it was the perfect place to find a cedar Christmas tree.

Each year we would walk over the approximately 80 acres looking for the special tree that would become our Christmas tree for that year. Even though he would pretend that he was looking for a tree, usually Daddy had already been to the tree farm and had walked around so he knew where to find the "perfect" tree for that year. He would let us walk around and then direct us to where we could find the tree. My dad was a tall man and his long legs took big strides as he walked in the woods. "Daddy, daddy wait for me" I would say. He would laugh and stop so I could catch him.

After we had found the tree, daddy would cut it down and we would carry the tree back to the road and load it in the back of the truck. After we got it home, it had to be trimmed so that it would fit in our living room. Since the room was small, the tree usually filled a large part of it. The excitement of Christmas filled the house when the tree was put into its place and the aroma of the cedar filled the air. The excitement was even greater when the boxes of lights and ornaments were brought down from the attic and we began to decorate the tree. The colored bulbs, the bubbly lights, the tinsel and the ornaments were placed on the tree and they transformed the tree into something magical.

Because of allergies, we have an artificial tree in our house so we do not go out at Christmas to get a live tree but even now, many years later, I still feel the same excitement when it comes time to put up our Christmas tree. Each year I am reminded of the times when we walked through the woods trying to find the "perfect" tree; when I struggled to keep up with my dad and called to him, "Daddy, wait for me...."

Laura Young copyright 2004  

I am a retired school secretary living in Mississippi. I am married to a Methodist minister (also retired) and we have four children, three daughters-in-laws, and seven grandchildren. I am currently working on compiling family histories for my family and my husband's family and that takes up a great deal of my time, but it is enjoyable. I have had several stories on 2The Heart, including "A Christmas Story", "Mother's Day", "The Litter Lady", "Sonny Boy", and "The Hill".



The Letter Box:

Teresa, Your story gave me goosebumps! I, too, have precious childhood memories of past Christmases... we still have wonderful holidays, but I get teary-eyed when I reminisce about the past and all of my loved ones who are no longer with us today. Thanks for the reminder that they are really ALWAYS with us, even if it's just in spirit. Peace & Hugs, Angel Jenn Borjeson

Dear Teresa -- What an awesome gift the Lord gave you. I know he loves hearing from us. I remember walking to the mailbox a few years back and asking the Lord for some extra provision we needed to pay some bills. There - that day - in the mail box was an unexpected check for over the amount we needed. Our wonderful heavenly father knew in advance what we needed. I praise His Holy Name for His mercy and faithfulness.

God bless you and yours,
Mary Carol

Dear Teresa
As I read your story, I'm reminded how life can be so full of surprise when we're looking with eyes open. So many of us come to a place when the roll of film we have is NEVER developed, yet in God's Providence, we can find life in the most unexpected and surprising of ways.

I bet your grandma was watching and waiting for when THAT roll of film would expose a new secret! I bet, if Heaven can have impatience, she would have been saying 'C'mon, c'mon!! Look, look!! Go get the film developed!' And you did.

I pray that the Lord will bless you with other and greater surprises. Life is very precious, isn't it?

God bless you,

Robert White, Australia


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    Making a difference, one story at a time!