snow, falling like the ideal christmas all fat and gentle and aiden clapping hands and us clamoring into hat and mitt and jacket.

the first saturday in december, and it’s time to get the tree, and christmas isn’t christmas without a real tree.

and we drive to oma and opa’s and get the old blue and red farm truck, the one no one would steal for its color and oma brings hot chocolate and we drive down the road and park, pile into the bush and aiden drinks hot chocolate with opa while trent and i find a tree.

and it’s standing apart from the others, waiting for us. a spruce, and it’s the perfect height.

trent uses his grandpa’s saw to cut it down and we stare at the initials on the handle, “G. N.,” and remember the towering silent man who used to run the ferry. and it’s a fast memorial and soon we’re in the truck again and driving home and watering tree and tying it to the wall and finding lights that work.

and trent finds christmas music on the radio, and i un-wrap the nativity, eager to show aiden baby Jesus and he’s nowhere to be found.

Jesus is missing.

we set it up anyway and joke about it being a commentary on christmas, but it’s the nativity trent bought me when we were dating and we’re both searching desperately for the missing baby.

aiden is hanging bulbs, tens of them, from the same branch at the bottom of the tree and i leave them there, clustered like grapes. kasher gnaws on something on the couch and Joy to the World on the radio and trent insists we each hang our own ‘baby’s first’ ornament.

and an angel steals me away. i sit on the couch staring at her pink wings remembering the friend who gave it to me in elementary school.

then we turn off the lights and the tree is wrapped in memory and garland and it’s Silent Night now. trent and i finding each other’s hand in it all.

and Jesus isn’t missing; he’s right here, among us, and we bow over burgers and wine, our communion dinner, and give thanks.

(linking with ann, jen and laura)

676. novel completed and sent in, and waiting now… 🙂
677. family christmas and gifts and kasher in a santa suit
678. family time in bed in the morning, reading psalms
679. trent’s wildberry wine
680. the taste of food that i didn’t have to cook
681. your love, you people–all of you, i am so grateful for your friendship. (thank you)