by Dale Grubaugh
Puttin’ up the Christmas tree is my favorite part of celebrating Christmas. I was only three or four when my dad began taking me with him to cut down the family tree.
As I got older, getting the tree became my job, accompanied by my sister Rae Jean.
We never thought about going to a tree lot or commercial tree farm to get a Christmas tree. No Sir! We had plenty of cedar trees growing right there on the farm — and putting up an artificial tree was out of the question!
I was half-growed before I realized that a cedar tree was a cedar tree and not a Christmas tree.
There are a lot of fond memories of Rae Jean and me going after the tree. We would walk and walk, looking at different cedars — sizing them up for height and shape.
When we’d agreed on the right one, I would cut it down and we would drag it back to the house, together. Our pick was usually way too big for the living room.
That tree would wind up in the front yard with big Christmas lights strung on it and we’d be off again to repeat the process.
Our Christmas tree stand was a five-gallon bucket with rocks and gravel around the trunk to hold the tree in place. Then a wire from either side of the window was attached to the tree for added support.
It was dad’s job to put the lights on the tree. Those were the screw-in kind that had clips to fasten each light to a branch. I’m not sure you can even find that kind of light strand anymore.
Because dad was the tallest, he always put the star on top as well.
After the lights were on and all working, everyone helped with the decorations. We had boxes and boxes of round glass ornaments of every color and size. There were also a few handmade ornaments. Everything went on the tree.
Once we were finished, mom mixed up her “snow” of Ivory soap powder and smeared it deep on the tree branches. Lastly, it was her job to balance out the ornaments and hang the tinsel.
That finished product was a beautiful thing to behold!
To me, our tree was always the prettiest tree around. Even the trees we put up now don’t seem to match the beauty of that one in my childhood eye.
Yep, the Christmas tree is my favorite part of the holiday.
Cedars, being evergreen, reminds me of God’s everlasting grace and love — and the gift of eternal life He gives us through His Son, Jesus Christ.
The fragrance of the cedar tree fills the room. It reminds me of how God fills the life of the believer with His Holy Spirit.
The lights on the tree symbolize the True Light God sent into the world to lead mankind out of the darkness of sin.
The star on top reminds me of the star that lead the wise men from the East to find the Christ-Child.
The ornaments and tinsel help me remember God has made something beautiful out of my life.
The presents under the tree remind me of the greatest gift that was given — eternal life to all who would believe in Jesus as Savior. Also, the remind that each believer has been given gifts with which to minister to his fellow man.
The family gathered around the Christmas tree on Christmas morning is a reminder of how the shepherds gathered around the manger to worship the Christ-child that first Christmas.
The tree itself also reminds me of another tree — the tree made of the cross of Calvary, upon which Christ hung, paying the ultimate price for man’s redemption.
Here’s hopin’ you have a blessed Christmas season.
’Till next month.
Originally published December 13, 2009
About the columnist:
Dale Grubaugh, writing as “Elias Tucker from The Holler” is a valued contributor to State of the Ozarks. He is a man who loves his Ozark culture deeply.
As a Southern Baptist preacher and pastor, Dale has dedicated his life to the people of these hills.
Also, he has worked hard in many facets of the Branson show industry. And he has lived the Ozarks, fishing, hunting, appreciating the wilds that are so close — but so closely forgotten.
— Joshua Heston, editor