Foreword note: Before I share the following, let me make it clear: I love trees, and woods, and the shady, wind-shielding privacy they offer—up to a point! I hadn’t realized how far beyond that point we’d gotten…


Above photos taken four years ago. I evidently took no pictures of these trees since then, since they became just a wall of green.

From my journal, November 30, 2017:

Startled by the date, suddenly surprised that it’s the last day of November! [This is especially odd, considering how often I’ve been peering at the calendar!]

It’s been an interesting month…

Yesterday was an interesting day…

I’d planned to run errands early, and avoid the chain saw noise that would accompany tree removal by the driveway. But my head still ached, my sinuses were still so stuffed I felt oxygen deprived, and my throat kept stinging all the way up through my right ear. So I decided to stay home and rest.

As it turned out, the preliminary sawing wasn’t very loud (smaller chain saw), and even the big stuff later I was able to muffle and distract my mind from, with ear buds plugged into computer.

And what a blessed difference once that middle tree fell!

When I peeked out the bedroom window to observe the progress, the opened view hit me like a refreshing breeze or cool drink on a hot, thirsty day [though this day was neither]—or [more appropriately], a flung-open prison door!

That wall of evergreen had grown so big and tall and solid and dark, it had been making me feel closed in, limited, confined. Now, as in the past, I go to that window happily, able to gaze out over meadow and sky, to see the clouds in pale shades of color stretched across the horizon. [We can now also see the animals that run up and down the slope beyond the line of evergreens or sneak into hiding places to eat things we don’t want them to.] Now, with all the wood cut into logs and all the debris hauled away, it’s a very happy thing.

When I went outside later, for a sudden errand after all (that I’ll tell about later), I saw that we even got a Charlie Brown Christmas tree out of the timbering operation—with lots of cute little pine cones festooning it already!

It’s so quirky and scraggly, but fresh and piney-smelling, I’ve actually been thinking of hauling it into the house and setting it up, at some point during December, at least. But I’m not sure. I haven’t had a Christmas tree up inside for several years now, and that little treetop, scrawny as it is, just might do what the whole tree it came from was doing before it came down: crowding life and obscuring the fuller, better view.

Though Advent has sneaked up on me again, I’ve been pondering it, lots. What a great focus its forward look might be for this December! Could it help prevent the month’s becoming just a haphazard pile of busy distraction that obscures Christ more than reveals Him? Its expectant seeking might open up the view to a far more meaningful Christmas than the more familiar traditional preparations (trees and bells and jelly-belly elves)—if we keep our beloved December doings trimmed to appropriate size…

Well, God, with his remarkable sense of humor, evidently has been helping with this:

Just a few days before Thanksgiving, our double wall oven died! (And yes, we were hosting the Dinner.) Finding new ovens to fit our available space proved difficult. When, this week, we finally found the brand and model we thought would work best, another surprise: Online searching revealed that this day, November 30th, was the final 39%-off sale day for this exact model!

We scooted right out and ordered the set, but the earliest delivery date offered was December 19th! This is long past my usual cookie baking time, people!

But maybe that’s the point, hmm?


Questions to ask myself (and you may ask yourself, if you like):

-What typically grows so big in my life at this time of year, that it crowds and blocks out Christ?

-Can I trim these things to reasonable size, or would they be better cut out  and hauled away?

-Regarding each family tradition or ritual, which of them don’t really have much to do with Christ’s first or second advent?

A post I hope to publish soon (called “Gotham’s Dirty Little Christmas Secret”) might help sort these things out (if I can just alleviate this pesty cold enough to think straight…)


One thought on “When Nice Things Hem You In—and Obscure What’s Sneaking Up on You

  1. Oh what a lesson for a visual person like me!! Lots of things to ponder in application– from the clutter in my house to my schedule…..

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