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December 6, 2010
We've had our tree chosen for months -- this year's will be the tiny yew who has volunteered out by the front steps. When I say "tiny," I mean it: the tree tops out at about a foot. He will fit easily on an occasional table in the living room. He will hold only a fraction of our ornament collection, so we must choose carefully. A fanciful glass bird with a long feather tail arrived by post yesterday, and I think she belongs at the top of the little tree. Maybe it should be all birds -- why not? Due of my hummingbird addiction, we have lots of bird ornaments. My usual tree theme has been -- well, I can't rightly claim ever to have had a tree theme. So, birds it is. Our first theme tree.

This is a house with high ceilings. For years, we had tall Christmas trees, and they were lovely. I would stand in the door of the dining room after they were decorated and just gaze, inhaling the lovely pine smell that could travel clear across a large room. Maybe, for this last Christmas in our wonderful house, we should get a big one? One last time?

Nah. I have a lifelong parade of big trees in my memory, We no longer have young children who will come here for the day -- we will journey to them. We're happy with a funny little one, now. Somehow, It fits us as we are, which is not just what we used to be. For that matter, we ourselves seem to be shrinking, as well: I am shorter than I was, and Q is shorter still. Even my feet are shrinking, seeming to swim in my shoes. Now that's interesting.

How stretched we will be, as we downsize! How we will grow! We will be pioneers again, careful people making considered choices about what our lives will be like. We will learn, as we have learned before, not to insist on things being as they have always been. Because nothing is ever as it was: life can only be as it is.

Today, the feast of St. Nicholas, is also the 30th anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood. Serving in this way has been a privilege, a complete gift, and I am grateful for it beyond all words. If you are able, celebrate it with me by making an online donation to Episcopal Relief & Development which, on our behalf, serves people in need worldwide. Donate at, or, if you wish to make a donation by check, please mail it to Episcopal Relief & Development, P.O. Box 7058 Merrifield, VA 22116-7058. To donate by phone, please call 1.800.334.7626, ext. 5129. ER&D will let me know of your gift, if you desire it.
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