Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas trees disturb me

 I've said before that Christmas trees are curious things.  They are. They also disturb me a little bit, okay a lot.  It's not just because I feel compelled to make garish pictures of them.  Its not just because of the verse in Jeremiah that warns against bringing trees into your house and adorning them with gold and silver [Yes I realize this is a warning against idolatry and not specifically against Christmas trees, please don't flame me.  I also realize I'm taking it out of context on purpose.  Fun, no?].  It is not even because the tradition has its roots* in ancient fertility symbols.  The tree and its decorations represent... eh -- if you want to know Google will tell you.

No, the real reason these evergreen holiday visitors disturb me is because of a story that was in my first grade reader.  It is the only story I really remember from that year, but it haunts my thoughts every year.  The story starts out with a happy little tree living on a hill.  He is curious why men come and take his hill-mates every year.  Every year he is sad he isn't chosen.  One year he is chosen!  It stings a bit when they cut him, but he is too excited to feel it.  He is brought into a family's home where they decorate him, and he is the center of attention!  What a wonderful life he is having!  However, through this period he feels himself growing weaker.  Of course, we know what happens at the end. He is tossed out with the trash and placed in the incinerator.  The story ends with the poor tree wishing for his old life back on the hill crying from the pain of the flames.  THAT is why Christmas trees disturb me. 

If anyone knows the author, I'd love to ask them why they wrote a story like that.  And I'd also love to know who the person was who decided it was a good idea to include in a first grade reader.

*roots.  trees.  roots, get it?

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