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Christmas tree-ditions

By Chaplain Greg Spring’s late father, Richard Spring

When I think of Christmas, I remember most of all,

The scene around the Christmas tree when my three kids were small.

You see my wife was into “arts and crafts” like ladies everywhere,

So the house was filled with decorations, hardly a spot was bare.

But over in one corner, with the TV moved away,

We made room for a big fir tree, the center of Christmas day.

The room had a very high ceiling, so the tree was nice and tall;

It took some really good supports to make sure it didn’t fall.

My job was to string the lights, which didn’t amount to much.

Mom and the kids did all the rest, with ornaments, icicles and such.

They gathered around that tree and hung decorations everywhere,

And pretty soon you couldn’t see a square inch that looked bare.

I just sort of stayed out of the way and nursed my coffee mug,

And put up my little statue of a grouch with a sign, “Bah Humbug.”

They really did a lot of work just to decorate a tree,

A little twig with a star on top would have been enough for me.

It seemed to me they spent their time on something that wouldn’t last,

But we were building family traditions with every year that passed.

That tree became a gathering place at the end of every day,

Where we would read the Christmas story and then take time to pray.

By Christmas Eve there weren’t many presents that anyone could see

But after the kids were fast asleep, I’d put the rest beneath the tree.

The next morning, early, following our plan and tradition,

We opened the presents, one by one, according to family position.

The youngest child was always first, in our logical design,

And continued on by ascending age, with Dad the last in line.

Around the family Christmas tree are my memories of the past.

No matter how the world may change, the memories shall last.

Mom was only forty-three, her last Christmas here below,

And by early February she was with the Lord, we know.

In the years since then, about fourteen, I’ve never had a tree.

It didn’t seem to make much sense for just my dog and me.

But when I visit my kids and see the decorations at their places,

I notice the trees are quite large and ornaments fill the spaces.

They carry on the family traditions they shared with Mom and me,

And that’s why I always remember our family’s Christmas tree.

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