O Memory Tree

close-up of Christmas tree

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
What mem’ries fill your branches!
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
What mem’ries fill your branches!
Bears, snowflakes, balls, a cross, and stars,
Sheep, doves, and apples, trains and cars;
White snowmen, gingerbread, and moose,
Gray mice and birds hang on the spruce.

Reminding us of our first years,
Of days of happiness and tears;
Of wedded bliss and babes newborn,
And one dear child whose loss we mourn.
Our occupations hallowed here,
Along with hobbies we revere:
Mechanic, mailman, sailor—he,
Musician, teacher, mother—she.

Recalling relatives and friends,
For whom our prayer to heav’n ascends;
And Christmas past, forever spent,
Portrayed by antique ornament.
The ones we treasure most of all
Were made by hands so very small:
By Matthew, Bobby, Mary too,
Each year we add a symbol new.

And way up high, above them all,
A shining angel stands up tall,
Reminding us of Jesus’ birth,
When God sent peace to men on earth.
How fitting that at Christmastime
I asked the Savior to be mine!
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
What mem’ries fill your branches!

Entry from my journal, dated December 7, 2004…

Once again I am up late at night, soaking in the warmth of the Christmas lights in the living room newly decorated for the celebration of Christ’s birth. My gaze turns to the Christmas tree, which we decorated just this afternoon. While we worked, we talked about the significance of each ornament in turn as it went onto the tree. Now in the solitude of night our earlier conversations flood my mind, and I realize how much of our family history is summed up in that tree. For years I have asked Pat if I could “do a theme” in the tree for a change—you know, go with just two colors in the ornaments and maybe some lace bows for contrast. But now I am glad that he never approved, for what meaning would the tree have for us without all those “First Christmas” ornaments, and the homemade, and the ones given to us by caring friends and relatives?

“O Memory Tree” Copyright © 2018 Angela Umphers Rueger – All Rights Reserved

Photo taken in Milton, FL, 2018

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