Monday, December 20, 2010

The wreath on the tree

Confession time: I am a mini-Scrooge at Christmas time.

I do love Christmas. I enjoy getting to spend time with friends and family. I even like going to the malls and shopping this time of year, mainly to watch the mayhem. (FYI, I love to people watch. Better than anything on TV.) And I love all the decorations, all the lights and glitter.

I just hate doing the decorations.

Don't believe, ask my lovely bride.

Decoration at our home always occurs on Thanksgiving Day. I bring everything in from the storage building before vanishing to our bedroom to watch football while my bride and daughter beautify our abode.

That's when I'm a Scrooge. I have a serious allergic reaction to decorating.

But I love the sights and sounds of Christmas. It's a magical time of year. Yet, from time to time, it's easy to forget the true meaning of the season. (Confession No. 2: As I'm typing this blog, I'm doing some online Christmas shopping. God bless technology.)

And once in a while, you'll come across something that will snap you back into reality. For me, this occurred Sunday.

As my family and I headed to church, we took our normal route. While rolling along a back road, I noticed this Christmas wreath hanging a tree. It's a beautiful evergreen wreath, approximately 30 inches in diameter, and is a adorned with a crimson and gold ribbon.

To the causal passerby, one might think this odd to find a wreath hanging on what seems to be some random tree. Unfortunately, I know why this wreath is hanging on that particular tree.

In late-July of 2009, a young man heading home for his two-week, annual training session with the National Guard crashed his vehicle into this tree and lost his life. Not realizing it at the time, my family and I drove up on the crash. It was only hours later that we found out what had happened and who was involved.

I knew this young man very well. I taught him in Sunday school when he was in the sixth grade. And when I led creative ministries at our church, he was an active participant and willing to do whatever was asked of him.

This post is not to eulogize the young man, but I will say the world lost an exceptional young man that hot summer day.

Ever since his passing, someone - his family I presume, has kept a wreath hanging on the tree. A patriotic looking one during the Memorial and Fourth of July holidays, and a very spring-like and flowery one during the Easter season.

But seeing the Christmas wreath this time caused me to pause ... reflect ... and remember what Christmas is all about. For me, Christmas is about two things.

First and foremost, it is the time I celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ who came to save me from my sins. Secondly, Christmas is a time for family.

Regardless if you live to be 15 or 105, our time is short on this earth. Cherish the time you have, and more importantly, the ones you spend your days with.

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