I was walking the grounds of our local Christmas tree farm the other day. The tree was selected, sawed down, and traveling up the path on a very cool tree cart. In that moment, my little-girl-self appeared. She was content. I was content. The sky was blue, the air brisk, but comfortable, and the tree had two pine cones! Brown, oblong, their scales open in response to the dry air. No other decorations were needed on this tree, though more were sure to come, because these nature’s ornaments held on and were coming home!
She has shown up before, sweet little Lisa. With her set of memories and expectations, she’s often caught in the narrative from long ago. She sees the world around me through the lens of loss and tragedy – but that was her world, not mine. Christmas is filled with similar opportunities of getting lost in time, memories and expectations are everywhere! Perhaps it’s one of those “thin places” that mystics tell us about. Our long ago experiences are with us still… haunting us, reminding us, seeding the memories of joy, of loss, of whatever our hearts encountered in years past.
This particular Christmas brings its own set of challenges, doesn’t it? I do not need reminders of past losses or limitations, for this Christmas has plenty to spare.
And so, I greet the pine cones hanging on the Christmas tree. Today they are surrounded by colored lights and happy bells, clever elves and angels of peace. And so am I. You will find me sitting in the silent dark of each morning, taking in the wonder of Christmas. These humble pinecones remind me of the gift of small things, of the taken-for-granted things that are all around me. They remind me of steadfast friends and moments of peace, and yes, the cycle of death and life. This Christmas I return to the humble stable, and praise the birth of Love.
That is my gift to you, dear friends, the reminder that Love is in our midst – in one another, in our own hearts – all the time!
What ‘love’ is I don’t know,
if it’s not the response of
our deepest natures to one another.
~William Carlos Williams