Peyton Randy’s Christmas Tree Story – December 2008
Please Enjoy the story. The more images will be inserted at a later date.
Well, while practically everyone else has moved on, I am stuck with one Christmas task. That task is to tell my Christmas tree story. I hope that those who receive this story are well and had a meaningful holiday. The Kellers did, although my wife Kathy, good sport that she is, might not say so. Bless her heart; she has high standards for entertaining, which unfortunately turn into a lot of work for her. Be that as it may, come the first of this past December, I created some stress trying to come up with another rendition of the traditional Christmas story. I play it out in the ornaments on the tree.
The annual Christmas Party gives me a “captive audience” to showcase this creative endeavor. It seems that I always try to test the old adage – “where there is a will there is a way”. Once again, I had to use help from my higher power (substitute a more religious words, if you like). Again, I learned the joy of creating and sharing the results.
Although at the time of this writing, it is January 19, 2009, I feel guilty that it was not ready at Epiphany. (January 6th?). I will, however, use the loose excuse that honoring Martin Luther Kind Day, by thinking I can’t be “free at last” to move on until I get this story out. Actually the truth is that it is hard to recapture the high level requires when one is writing. So give me some credit, please.
Without further delay, here is my story:
I joked that the usual angel is not on the tree. “Having retired, I could not afford an angel”, I said. Actually it was lost or she ran off with one of the wise men, also missing! “I had to lay off some of the ornaments such as peace dove, being cost conscious”, I continued. Actually they were dirty and worn out.
God full of love, wanting to give of himself, creates. Stars and angels represent on the tree, this heavenly sphere. Just below you see the first man, dressed as a Dutchman, and the woman (not shown well here) represented in similar modesty, under a tree light, as an Asian Lady. Of course one has to have those red apples, which got us all into trouble with God. If we knew everything, then we would not have a God meddling with us and maybe we would go through some growth, which might be obligating and painful. Hence we have our first star which indicates how our need for and use of knowledge might affect us.
Fast forwarding many years, the Christian story makes the case, both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament that humankind needs a Messiah. This is necessary both to understand what God is like and what human life lived to its fullest can be about. This need has not been hard to see given much of human history. When humankind is left to its own devices and desires, often much pain is caused.
New this year are picture cards.
These cards contain pictures of the shepherds worshipping at the manager containing Jesus, The Christ.
This, of course, is another part of the story. Before I get to that I would like to make a quick reference to the action of putting the cards on the tree. This was not thought out ahead of time, but became appropriate when I noticed these discounted cards, sold in a thrift shop, were actually Catholic cards sold or given by a local Catholic Seminary, for those needing prayers and/or Mass at the seminary. Obviously, being Presbyterian, I would have trouble meeting this commitment. Not wanting to throw these beautiful cards (gold borders, etc.) out. I decided to use them on the tree. In any event, I love the cards and now, each year I will pull out these treasures.
As Christians, we know Jesus dying on the cross provides us with multiple meanings and a great way that God can unite with humankind, even when humankind is at its worst. Jesus will intercede for humankind and even send his Holy Spirit to those who will accept it. This is done for the purpose of enabling them to perform actions as co-creators with God. The joy of this is that it does not have to be earned, but is given by Grace. In that, I am telling a story of the Christmas tree and not a sermon. I will leave it at that.
We can all enjoy it, but we should keep in mind the risks of missing the true meaning of God’s gift in sending his only Son, Jesus. As long as we give in love and celebrate in our churches, we might more fully understand God’s gift of love to us. Notice on the tree pictures, church ornament and the green ornament. The green ornament has the word celebrate on it. Part of the challenge of creating the story on the tree is to show relevance to current events in our lives. This year all of us are conscious of the bad economy, and the losses it brings. Relevance to this is indicated by little or no other ornaments on the tree at its bottom, except the blue oblong ornament. If one was in front of the actual tree, the writing on this ornament would read, “Christmas is for Family and Friends.
Here I am trying to indicate that in times without the possibility of giving gifts, or no gifts at all, recognizing the love we share among family and friends will be a sufficient cause for celebrating the message of love in the season. Let’s hope no one will have to be challenged in that way. One will see the gold star with the word Fortitude on it. Fortitude here is defined as strength of mind or courage to endure adversity until better times can be seen or contemplated. For the purposes of the story, this star is here to indicate that anyone at their “bottom” can take action to better their situation by will power and proper attitude. The choice is theirs.
To a Christian, I believe the continuing of celebrating and understanding of the message of Christmas can start us thinking or imagining as seen in the symbol, the upward pass in life. On the tree this means heading towards the top where heaven and God are. In case we forget to do our part in this work, I find it helpful to remember, “Jesus came to take away our sins, not our minds.”
This can remind us of the formal religious practices of a church and can help us celebrate the positive influences and make us more aware of these influences when they come to us in the future. Likewise, we can also notice the negatives that come into our lives and think of the lessons we have learned for a better future.
You will; see another writ-in on an ornament which stands for dreaming or visualizing. To crystallize these dreams one can use goal statements.
Getting close to the top of the tree (heaven) is the picture of the star with the word “Piety” on it. Piety in this sense means keeping the faith even though doubts may come. This may mean God wants to work with and through you. God’s plan included the Christ-child to actualize this, but you have to keep the faith by believing and acting on it. Knowing and sustaining this by doing one’s best can generate joy.
Why is there an ornament with the word laugh in it? That was put in there to remind me of that which I have just mentioned above. I had hoped to have an ornament which read, The older I get the more I love myself”. This taken in its best sense is a positive statement of growing in love of one’s self Love, I believe, is a chief characteristic of God.
In my case, I didn’t, for whatever reason, do the practical planning of knowing the hours of the store, hence, I arrived at the store too late and it was closed. Sometimes laughter is a healthy way of not being too hard on ourselves, forgetting that we can be lovable even given our flaws.
In summary, we should be close to realizing God’s enabling love for you. This should help us to be faithful and develop some of the aforementioned practices (affirmations, leaving lessons from the negatives and gratitude) as used in our churches and private meditations. These are supplemented by our visions, dreams and concrete plans to be at our best. That, it seems to me, would equip us for heaven and move us to the top of the tree.
Thank you for the opportunity to tell my Christmas Tree story. I hope it resonates in some way with you, whether you celebrate or not.
Since this will be mailed out some time in Lent, it carries greeting for a Happy Easter, which completes the Christmas Story. I promise myself now that it will either be scrapped or done more timely next year.