On this twelfth day of Christmas, I took our Christmas tree to our nearby town park, where trees are chipped and made into mulch for the park’s walking trails. The tree was undecorated over the new year’s weekend, but continued standing proudly in our living room until the tenth day of Christmas.
The day after Thanksgiving, my grandson and I went to our favorite local Christmas tree farm with clear instructions: bring home a tree about 7.5 feet tall and not too wide at the base. We took the tractor-pulled wagon ride to the Fraser Fir section, this being our favorite kind of tree, with good color and needle retention. We found the right tree and cut it down. Two hours later it was standing in our living room and drinking fresh water. It took us the weekend to get it trimmed and it served us well for over five weeks.
The first week, I must have given it a gallon of water a day. The next week, a half gallon. The next week a quart. Not a day went by in over five weeks without the tree getting at least a tall glass of fresh water. The needle retention was excellent. Even in its last week, it was hardly dropping any needles. (My wife might quibble with that last sentence, but I have been cutting down, watching, and watering Christmas trees for decades: this one retained its needles as well as any I have ever cut, watched, and watered.)
Tomorrow is Epiphany day, when we are reminded of the long journey of the magi and their curious gifts for the Christ child, no longer a baby in a manger, but a toddler still in Bethlehem. Only Matthew gives is this story. Matthew 2, in just 23 verses, gives us an amazing journey with little Jesus and his parents. There is mystery and political intrigue. There is tragedy and death and suffering. Angels are still active and the light of God in Jesus is shining. Read the entire chapter tomorrow. Maybe even today, to get ready.
And now that Fraser Fir is being re-purposed. I walk the trails of Tinker Park in all seasons. Soon, maybe this winter or early spring, I may well be walking on the mulch of that lovely tree. Still serving a good purpose.