Thursday, December 18, 2008
Well, after being arrested while friendly unofficial forestry workers helped us to our Christmas tree two years ago . . . we decided to stick closer to home for our forray into forestry this year. All the Christmas-sort of trees I've planted over the years we have used, or have so far outgrown indoor sizes that we had turned our sites on the top of a lovely pine-ish sort of tree planted by the Learys many many years ago and nurtured in Scott Ickes/Scott Will's garden. Ebola descended before we had a chance to use it last year. So yesterday, thanks to superhuman kid effort to sort and put away a week of hiking equipment and a month of groceries and general return-to-Bundibugyo mixed-with-holiday clutter . . . and in spite of a continued influenza- level packed pediatric ward . . . we managed by mid afternoon to clear a space in the house and head out to the tree. It turned out to be much taller in reality than in theory. Luke tried to reach as high as he could on a ladder and begin sawing, but Scott ended up with a panga and a lot of effort to fell it. Cutting as high as he could reach we still ended up with about 20 feet of tree which he had to trim down to 10 ish. Jack and Julia rescued the very top and set it up on the porch decorated with flowers. And we put on the Christmas music in the heat and dust, and opened the trunk full of ornaments and lights, and hung our memories. Many are home-made ornaments; others have been purchased on trips; others come in matching sets of 4 from grandparents. All have a story, and I think that is the point. Christmas is a story, of a real life and time, not just a lovely symbol. God comes into reality. By team meeting this evening the lights glowed on the pine and the tree stood as a testimony to God's faithfulness, to the green branch growing from the severely pruned stump, to the power of even a tiny light in the darkness, to the sprinkling of stories which constitute life, the only place we have for encountering God-with-Us, Immanuel.