How Lovely Are Thy Branches

This weekend I have chosen two Christmas trees, and so far no emotional outbursts have occurred. The tree we picked out for the church was exquisite: tall and not particularly bushy but absolutely symmetrical. It won’t get lights until later in the season, but when they are on it will be stunning!

The church smells wonderful.

This morning we began worship on the front steps of the church, with some people in the vestibule to keep warm, and celebrated the Hanging of the Greens. (May I just say that a little bit of blowing snow, which we had at that moment, should not be a problem for hearty Mainers. Maybe they just like to grumble.) It is a bit more formal than most of our worship with lots of responses. Did you know I attended Episcopal school from 1st grade through 7th? There is part of me that would have been a very happy Anglican.

A newly retired pastor who lives in the area came to worship today with his wife and recently married adult daughter. All –plus daughter’s husband– are looking for a new church. (Squee! New members who understand church life!) I’ve known him for many years and like him a lot. After worship, Daughter said, “I’ve visited several other churches and haven’t felt so welcomed.” That doesn’t surprise me, both because I know how welcoming our folk are and because I know how much chillier some of the other nearby UCC churches can be. Then she said, “The service was perfectly beautiful from beginning to end.” That meant a lot, especially since I had been concerned that Hanging of the Greens combined with Communion might seem like a bit of a three-ring circus.

After church we went back to the temporary Christmas tree lot, just three short blocks from home. We usually drive out to Fabulous Neighboring Seaside Town to buy a tree at a nursery owned by members of the church where I did my Field Education in the mid-90’s. I like to get one there because they are such faithful supporters of that wonderful church. But this year we are being deliberate about doing less driving, so we took the closer option. Pure Luck walked over to meet us; he and #2 Son walked home with the wreath and the tree. I don’t know if I can really say how sweet that was.

Last night I asked Pure Luck if he knew where we had put the tree stand? He reminded me that we threw it away; it had grown quite rusty. So this afternoon we went out in search of a new one. Ach, what a cacophony of outdoor Christmas decorations we had to brave along the way: inflatable snowmen, giant snowglobes, plastic reindeer and an absolutely terrifying four foot Santa who sang while rotating his pelvis like The King. We also took a trip to vertigo-inducing BJ’s, where we purchased a lot of soup as well as numerous Snack Foods for the Apocalypse (tm Phantom Scribbler). We have toothpaste, soap, shampoo, oatmeal breakfast squares, and the biggest can of Nesquik I have ever, ever seen. The latter cost less than a 12 oz. can of Ghirardelli Ground Chocolate. I guess I won’t be getting anymore of the good stuff! Boohoo!

Just now we are eating Stouffer’s Macaroni and Cheese, an all time family favorite, while awaiting #2 Son’s return from a birthday party. As soon as he is here, we will get the tree in the stand and string it with our new LED lights. I am married to a man who knows what the letters stand for, and I am impressed with his breadth of knowledge. He even knew why they don’t heat up! I have forgotten already. I just know they are both green and blue (ecologically and politically). We bought the colored lights. At least the ones at church are all white.

Now if we can just convince Sam that he doesn’t need to mark the tree, we will be all set.

11 thoughts on “How Lovely Are Thy Branches”

  1. Sounds like a good day indeed. We had a family that has visited once before come back today, and we had three–count ’em, *three* babies in church today! That is big stuff for St. Stoic. They went about four or five years there without any small children.
    It sounds like you made a good compromise with the lights, although I will mourn your loss of tasteful white lights on your tree at home.
    We have the same artificial tree we have used for 21 years. I miss the smell, but not the mess!

  2. What a lovely day.
    I am thinking about your tonight because C is sick with a cold, and she and I will be home tomorrow, having the kind of cozy day that you and the Princess had recently.

  3. we are being deliberate about doing less driving
    Thank you, and
    string it with our new LED lights
    thank you again.

  4. My parents always bought a tree at a local lot when we lived in Chicago, leading to the very entertaining scene of the three of us walking it home along the sidewalks. A deeply satisfying way to bring a tree home (also fodder for later sermons).

  5. I love Hanging of the Greens. The kids all get to bring up ornaments, and it is so wonderful to see the church go from barren to beautiful in an hour 🙂

  6. I’ve never heard of hanging the greens, which in English English are over cooked veggies, usually cabbage. reminds me of school dinners!
    Your driving less and collecting the tree on foot sounds lovely. AS for the coloured lights – well you can’t win every battle (grin)
    blesings and love

  7. It sounds like a wonderful day. We have the battle of the lights at our house as well. The girls love the colored lights; the husband wants white. I like both, but I tend toward the colored lights simply because our neighborhood goes overwhelmingly for the tasteful white.
    Don’t deprive yourself of the good chocolate — you deserve it!
    Good luck with the cat and the tree. We’re hoping new kitten doesn’t decide to climb ours.

  8. It *was* a good day. There was some bickering, but nothing unmanageable, and all between the siblings. The Princess and Pure Luck schemed some way that she might climb on the furniture and put the angel on top of the tree. I had to leave the room and pretend they were doing no such thing!!!
    #2 Son successfully glued the arm back on our wooden Baby Jesus, who fell on the brick hearth last year and suffered an broken limb. It’s good to see him back in one piece!

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