This Christmas season we are taking down our tree. Not the evergreen in our living room, but the gnarled old silver maple that has stood guard in our front yard since the day we moved in. A tree so decrepit looking it could evoke a snarky comment even from Charlie Brown.
Sometimes I think our tree is a sentient being, like when it tries to see how close it can drop its dead limbs next to the cars parked at the curb beneath it. It hasn’t hit one yet, at least that I know of, but I don’t know when its manner may turn from playful to troublesome. So I’m holding my breath: the tree company is not coming for a few more days.
Despite its appearance, our tree has a couple of wonderful squirrel holes. It’s sad to think of the occupants coming home one night and finding that they have no place to stay. It’s only because of them that the tree has not encountered the saw before now, but we’d rather live with unhappy squirrels than injured neighbors.
The tree residents couldn’t care less if their home is a neighborhood eyesore and nuisance. They have such fun chasing each other up and down the trunk and sitting in the branches munching maple helicopters. They may find it kind of ironic, though, when they see the Golden Rule Tree Service truck pull up.
I’m looking at the nativity scene on our front porch. It’s sad to think that Joseph and Mary arrived in Bethlehem with no place to stay for the night and nothing better than a feeding trough for Jesus to sleep in. But God’s plan was for his son to be born in the lowliest accommodations so that He could identify with the poorest and weakest among us.
One year when I removed the Christmas decorations from the porch, I discovered a baby squirrel nestled in the straw around the manger. Maybe our newly treeless squirrels will also find shelter near the nativity. Just like us, drawn to the Holy One, looking for salvation and comfort.
CW and Bonnie