Sunday, December 18
I remember my friend Deepak’s visit to my home one December evening. He had come to sell me a Christmas tree.
Since childhood, come Christmas, I have always had a Christmas tree at home. An old man would bring us an evergreen coniferous. Putting up the tree was the duty of sisters’ and other neighborhood girls. One by one, they would take those colorful danglers, festoons, and balloons and hang them on the tree. Those were the days when Christmas Greetings came through cards. These cards too found their place on the tree. The old man who brought us the coniferous was happy too. He was always gifted with a Christmas gift to have his pint of whiskey. Soon, later years, he found it difficult to get us the coniferous. There were no more of them in the surroundings. The public places from where he used to filch these branches were under the scanner of local authority. One day, the old man of the Christmas tree passed away. That closed our affair with the Christmas tree for a long time.
Years rolled away. Sisters grew up. They left home upon marriage. Somewhere at home, all the danglers, used for tree-decorations were stashed away in a paper carton. Like many things in life, growing up took away some joys of Christmas from me. The Childhood magic of making a Christmas tree was one of them. Not that I was not interested in Christmas, but that the interest became more ‘intellectual’ than emotional… more thought provoking than festoons, colored danglers or balloons.
My slackness to Christmas tree took a ‘beating’ only upon my marriage. Puthri, my wife, came into my life with all the steam and the fire of a sparkling Merry Christmas! Since marriage, every year, Puthri insisted me to put up a bright white star and a Christmas tree at home. The trouble then was that, evergreen coniferous weren’t available in my locality during the Christmas season. Also, cutting them down and using it was a controversial matter. In doing so, I was destroying a living tree for keeping up a fable!
Last year, when trekking, I was taken aback seeing all the huge coniferous forests of lower Himalayas. They were the pines that immediately called my attention to the Christmas trees of my youth. The main reason was their scent. There is a distinct aroma in the pine forests of Himalayas. The needle leaves of the Christmas tree too wore them. So, I could make a connection with my childhood while in those forests!
Today I know that I cannot have the luxury of God grown coniferous to host my Christmas ambitions. Yet the magic of the Christmas tree lives on. Thanks Deepak, for the effort you took to bring me a man-made Christmas tree and sell it. Thank God, like my Christmas, my Christmas tree has lived all these 8 years, evergreen!
" The traditional "Christmas tree" is a very ancient custom, which exalts the value of life, as in winter the evergreen becomes a sign of undying life. In general, the tree is decorated and Christmas gifts are placed under it. The symbol is also eloquent from a typically Christian point of view: It reminds us of the "tree of life" (Holy Bible,Genesis 2:9), representation of Christ, and God’s supreme gift to humanity.
The message of the Christmas tree, therefore, is that life is "ever green" if one gives: not so much material things, but of oneself: in friendship and sincere affection, and fraternal help and forgiveness, in shared time and reciprocal listening."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Blessed John Paul II, 2004