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How trees aren’t that much different from us

December 20, 2012
By Stephanie Bethke-DeJaeghere , Marshall Independent

Real Christmas trees are not supposed to be perfect. In fact, they mimic life in many ways.

They are rooted in one spot as a tiny tree, and it takes many years to grow and become what we recognize as a tree worth while to place in our house for the holidays.

The years roll by, and the weather and the years cause the branches and trunk to twist and turn. The perfection that they once were as an immature tree is now distorted with time. Imperfect. Perhaps a squirrel family moves in and the tree becomes damaged from how they use the tree during their stay or it suffers through a drought which causes the tree to become brittle over time.

They are just like us humans in that we "bough" down under the heavy strain of daily living, twisting and turning with life's efforts to remain strong through it all. We too, by the end of our time, are not so perfect.

We survive the storms in a personal form as do the trees. The trunk of most Christmas trees are twisted, which can make it difficult to find a water container to fit it perfectly and maybe it may make the tree lean slightly in our house besides whatever effort we put forth to get the tree to stand straight.

It probably didn't stand straight in the field either. But yet, there it is, in all of its glory, still evergreen and smelling so good and in its own kind of beautiful imperfection.

We decorate our Christmas trees with lights and decorations. The lights help us to light our way especially as we enter those darker days of winter. The decorations are not unlike how we humans decorate our own selves. We look for something bright and shiny to adorn ourselves.

The decorations are often a reminder of Christmases past and now present. It helps to stir our memories as adults and we can offer a connection to our children of what Christmas used to be like. The gifts may be different but the idea and emotional feeling of Christmas has remained the same all of these years. The star on top of the tree is to represent the Christmas star; a lighted path for all of us who are burdened to follow. The real Christmas tree standing in our living room reminds us that from humble beginnings, sometimes great things happen.

The evergreen boughs of the real Christmas tree represent things that do not die but stay living even through the toughest of cold weather or harshest storm or the heat of summer. The fragrance that real Christmas trees bring to our homes may remind us of some of the gifts that the Wise Men brought which were fragrances. The fragrance of the real Christmas trees waft through the house, bringing a sense of homecoming and welcoming. The boughs that we use to decorate our house will do the same.

We may cut down a real Christmas tree, but yet it goes on. It offers shelter to birds in our grove for a time before it starts to break down and return to the earth from which it came. We humans eventually do the same. In its place, another tree is planted on the Christmas tree farm and the process of living has begun once again.

The renewal of our spirit, our acts of kindness towards one another and our ability to weather the storm, although sometimes we lean a little now to the left, we still survive to continue to grow and provide for each other as the Christmas tree now growing in the Christmas tree farm field.

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