The Longenecker Christmas Tree.
Well, there was none. Not one. Not ever. Despite the fact that the Christmas song, “O Tannenbaum” is of German origin, most Pennsylvania Dutch Mennonite homes of the 1950s and 60s did not light Christmas trees. Decorated trees were lumped together with other worldly pleasures like jewelry, makeup, and movies and therefore not permitted. At least the Ray Longenecker family did not have one. We were plain and I longed for some fancy.
One year I found a limb from our maple tree out front with little branches that looked as forlorn as Charlie Brown’s tree. I brought it into the living room and tried to find trinkets and a red ribbon or two for decoration.
It was a sad little tree. It looked something like this, only wedged into our living room radiator and anchored by balled-up newspaper no doubt.
Good grief! I know how Charlie Brown must have felt. But at least his had “a wooden trunk and soft green needles” with a red ball on the end of a branch instead of a timid little ribbon.
Charlie Brown’s luck seems to change when Lucy appoints him as director of the Christmas play in which Linus reads Luke 2 from scripture. After the play, the performers migrate outdoors toward Charlie’s sagging tree. Charlie Brown eventually gets his wish for a fine Christmas tree as the gang “donate” the festive string of lights from Snoopy’s doghouse to the dress up the little tree. Charity in action.
No, there was no Christmas tree in our home or in the sanctuary of my family’s home church, Bossler’s Mennonite Church. But like Linus and friends, we heard the Christmas story from Luke 2 faithfully recited and at the end of the service, we received hand-outs of navel oranges every year, the orange orbs passed hand to hand down the rows.
Nowadays in the Longenecker-Beaman home there is a happy fir tree, bedecked with ornaments from several generations. And we all rehearse the precious old story of the nativity in the Bible passage Luke 2 on Christmas morning.
A wondrous story, plain and simple, read beside a fanciful tree.
Hark, the Herald Angels Sing, Glory to the Newborn King! Sung by Charlie Brown and friends
Add a Christmas tree tale from your past . . . or present. Join the conversation and I will add my little bit as I always do.
Merry Christmas~~Merry Christmas~~Merry Christmas!
Coming next: Purple Passages with Time and Tiny Tim