I am a big fan of the annual Christmas tree "FUNdraiser" at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church, also known endearingly as "St. E's." You can't miss the sale if you're a frequent driver on Montrose Road in Rockville.
You also can't help be swept up in the joy of the holiday season as you walk among friendly volunteers eager to help you choose just the right tree to take home.
Don't forget to buy a cup of warm apple cider while you're looking around. But wait! There's more, and I'll get to the point of this blog right now.
With the purchase of a Christmas tree, St. E's bestows a "Certificate of Adoption" which verifies one's purchase of a real Christmas tree. The best part about the certificate is that it includes the name of the tree.
How wonderfully special is that? Well, it has been very special to my family, especially to our little boy who inspired me to write the following story in honor of last year's Christmas tree sweetly named "Twilight."
Thanks for reading my blog, and Happy Holidays to all!
“I’ll turn Twilight on!” hollered the little boy as he scooted anxiously down the stairs on his football pajama bottoms.
The routine leap into the air off the bottom step landed his legs with a house shivering bang on the wood floor. The quick, happy thud-thud-thuds of his bare feet echoed throughout the house until the scrunching and crinkling of wrapping paper wrinkled the mood.
His Mom cringed wondering which present had been torn. “I should make him an easier path to the plug,” she noted to herself.
“He’s on!” announced the boy whose glowing wide eyes reflected the shimmer of the tree’s white lights.
He looked both pleased and proud as a satisfied grin curled up into his cheeks, and his hands gripped firmly to his hips. His Mom, not far behind, peered down at the last step contemplating a similar take off. Foreseeing a precarious grand entrance into the foyer, she chose to simply sit down.
“Good morning, Twilight,” she said through a yawn, nuzzling her knees and hands into her chest.
Her gaze into the living room could have framed the family’s Christmas card. There the boy stood, so still despite the chill of the winter morning air in the house. With short spikes of hair sticking up from his head like golden straw, a dimpled chin gently pulling his mouth open in wonder, and all ten fingers reaching out in front of him, the boy seemed to be waiting for the tree to do something.
His Mom whispered, “Do you think Twilight is happy here?”
“Yes, he looks happy. He’s shining,” he whispered back, but with hesitation.
“What is it? What are you thinking about?”
The boy lowered his hands, now relaxed, and walked over to his Mom. She just stared at him, relishing the moment as her child tried to understand the magic of Christmas. He sat down beside her, resting his arm on her leg.
“Mommy, do you know what?” he answered with a question.
“What? Tell me.”
“Did you know that Twilight is the only one who gets to see Santa?”
‘Oh, my goodness, you’re right! I hadn’t thought of that.”
“It’s not fair. Do you know why?”
“Why?” she answered, eager to hear more.
“Because Twilight can’t talk. He gets to see everything, but he can’t call out to wake me up to see, too.”
The boy’s mom gently squeezed his arm to acknowledge his frustration. Bittersweet it was to see her child’s absolute belief in the injustice of a Christmas tree able to see Santa while not being able to explain away the frustration without spoiling the magic.
She struggled with a response and then offered, “Maybe Santa’s big belly will bump into Twilight when he puts your presents under his branches. Maybe then you’ll hear a bunch of Twilight’s needles fall to the floor. Do you think that might wake you up to see?”
“I don’t know, Mommy. Maybe. I hope so.”
“I hope so, too.”
“Please try, Twilight. Please…” The boy’s voice lowered into a mumble as he stared deeply into the tree’s lights.