I remember it well. Well, I remember it as well as I can from a child’s eyes. We would all pile in the car, Mom, Dad, & five children, and head out to retrieve a tree for our family Christmas. Some years Dad would take a saw to cut a tree from a friend’s farm. Other years, later in my childhood, he would stop at a tree lot where he and mom would pick a cut tree just right for our living room.
Once we returned home Dad always cut the lower two to three inches off the base of the tree. He would say it needs a fresh cut, fresh opening to drink while in the stand. I’m glad Dad taught me things like that. Once it was cut and any other trimming completed, Dad would carry it in the house and place it in the tree stand.
My siblings and I would wait, eagerly anticipating our part in this family tradition, decorating the family Christmas tree. The order was always the same. First, Dad would string the lights (G7’s or 9’s) the big colorful lights of days gone by. Next, he and Mom would wrap the tree in silver or gold garland.
While Dad was stringing the lights on the tree, Mom was placing tree hooks on the ornaments to be hung. As we got older, we were entrusted to carefully hang some of the glass ornaments on the tree. While we were younger, though, we had to wait until all the ornaments were hung. And we waited with enthusiastic expectancy, because we knew our part was coming. As a child, the last part, to me, was the most fun and worth the wait.
What was the final act of decorating the tree? It is when all members of the family grabbed a handful (or two) of those thin silvery, shiny decoration strings called Icicles. Each person found a spot around the tree and began to toss them one at a time, so they would land loosely hanging from the branches of the tree.
I have wonderful memories from my childhood Christmases. I trust you do as well.
One thing I take away from this memory is, decorating the Christmas tree was a family team effort. Every member of the family was involved. We, may have had to wait for our part, but we were all involved – and eager to participate.
Church is the same way. Church should not be an event we attend where one (paid) person does all the work. Your local church body is a family of believers. Church should involve all members of the family. Don’t sit back and let someone else do all the work and service. Find your part and decorate the ministry with your participation. Enter God’s house with eager anticipation of your involvement.
And back to the Christmas tree. I am saddened when I hear of one person in the family (usually mom) decorating the tree without any help. Make it a family team effort. Build lasting cherished memories. Decorate the tree together. My wife and I do not have children, but, decorating the tree each year is still a joyous, highly anticipated family event. I would love to have children to pass on this tradition and team spirit. Will you pass it on in my proxy?
George Yates is a Life Purpose Coach and Organizational Health Strategist, assisting individuals and organizations in fulfilling their God-given purpose.