Tuesday, December 6, 2011

O Tannenbaum Time-Warp

Each year our children get new Christmas ornaments from a few of our family members.  In order to keep them all straight, I tie a little ribbon on each ornament after Christmas with the name and year.  The ornaments that "belong" to someone in particular go in a separate bag with their name on it.
This year as we decorated our Christmas tree, it was fun to hear the banter back and forth amongst the kids and they unwrapped the ornaments.  

"Do you remember when Nana got me this one?  I love this princess castle!  Nobody touch it." ~Norah

"This one says, 'Baby's 1st Christmas'.  Who game me this?  Wow.  It's a heavy one." ~Aaron

"This ballet dancer is so special to me." ~Ashley

"My zebra.  Mine." ~Lydia

Between the four of them, they have almost half the ornaments on the tree!  Can you imagine how bare it will look when they all get their own homes?  Brett and I will have to do a little shopping!

As we finished up the tree this year, Brett spotted this little creative cluster on one of the bottom branches:

Any wagers as to who was responsible for this lovely hodge-podge of bells?  I'll give you a hint ... she really likes her zebra ornament.  All told, Brett counted nine ornaments on this one stretch of lights.  What a silly goose.

Speaking of silliness - here is a time-warp snapshot from Christmas past of our family decorating our mom, er ... our tree:

You can infer one of two things from this picture:  
My mom was oblivious and her children were naughty OR 
My mom was super tolerant and her children were naughty.

Either way, there was definitely some mischief that evening.  In spite of the apparent confusion regarding ornament placement, we did manage to finish decorating.

I love the smiles and joy that were captured in this snapshot.  Although it might be that we are smothering our mother with our love!

Today's song for my Musical Count-Down to Christmas is "O Tannenbaum".  Click here for a lovely version of Nat King Cole singing this traditional carol in German.

As I thought through the translation that I was familiar with, "how lovely are thy branches", I wondered about how this song could be used to focus our hearts on Jesus.
I thought about how the tree, quite literally, points us to heaven.  This particular tree is especially pointy.  And a tad bit sparse.  It would appear that we might have been lacking a few branches.  The ones that would hide the metal pole there in the middle.

I thought about the star that we put on the top of our tree and how it serves as a reminder of the star that announced Jesus' birth.  And then I had a good giggle as I looked at the tree in this snapshot and spotted the little yarn elf I made in elementary school perched on the top of the tree.

I thought about the third verse from Psalm 1, 

3 "That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
   which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
   whatever they do prospers."

Our tree above, however, had never been planted.  And even the fir tree that we have standing in our living room is no longer giving, no longer planted and rooted.

That was when I stumbled across the literal translation of this old German carol.

O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree
How loyal are your leaves/needles!
You're green not only in the summertime,
No, also in winter when it snows,
O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree
How loyal are your leaves/needles!

O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree
You can please me very much!
How often has not at Christmastime
A tree like you given me such joy!
O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree
You can please me very much!

O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree
Your dress wants to teach me something:
Your hope and durability (faithfulness)
Provide comfort and strength at any time.
O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree
That's what your dress should teach me

As I read through those few verses, I was struck with how Jesus is personified in this simple Christmas tree:  loyal, pleasing, source of joy, full of hope, faithful, comforting and strong.

I'll never sing "O Tannenbaum" again, "in the summer time or in winter when it snows," without thinking of my Jesus.

1 comment:

  1. This is great. I love how you have such great family memories associated with your tree. Makes "Oh Christmas Tree" ten more special.


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