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Nothing can diminish the miracle of ‘God with us’

It was a magical time for me as a child when our family drove to Memphis to visit our aunt who lived on a busy, bustling street. It was true novelty for me to observe neighbors so close in proximity that they could reach out and touch one another if they took a long lean out their windows. There were sidewalks in front of the houses that stretched as far as the eye could see, and streetlights kept all the night monsters at bay.

I remember lying in the front bedroom and seeing the shadows from the continuous flow of street traffic dance along the walls of the room. The occasional honking horns, screeching brakes and sirens were night sounds that I considered far superior to the sounds of the night “critters” outside our rural home.

Many years later when we moved to the city from our rural setting, I continued my relish for streetlights, close neighbors, and convenient shopping. Life in the “city” is still a delight and blessing. 

However, I’ve run into an annual problem. It comes with the Christmas season. I miss my acres of trees and greenery for decorating. I definitely took my parents’ giant magnolia trees for granted when I gathered limbs for Christmas decorating. 

We have lots of trees in our city plot, but the pines reach high into the heavens and leave no low limbs for me to harvest. The sweet gums never work for decorating, neither do the oaks. 

How I miss the healthy holly tree with its bright red berries that grew along our Etta driveway. Then there were the hillsides of huckleberry trees that made great limbs for decorating. Cedars and pines were in abundance and only required a short walk from the house to gather them. 

I find myself scouring the neighboring lawns in search of greenery only to remind myself other people’s lawns aren’t for harvesting needs. Our next-door neighbor has a lovely holly tree complete with red berries, but I refuse to pretend it’s leaning into our yard. I watch it with envy but reject carrying my clippers anywhere near it.

Adapt is my only solution. I will not allow a lack of decorating supplies to hinder our celebratory participation in the greatest event mankind has ever known. Artificial holly or cedar certainly can’t diminish the miracle of “God with us!”

Letters to Camille Anding can be sent to P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, MS, 39602, or e-mailed to camille@datalane.net.