We come into your home, the forest, carrying saws and axes, with no thought of your well being. We disturb your peace. We cut you off from your roots. We let gravity do the hard work of pulling you down to our level where we tie you up, top to bottom, with such rough utility that we sometimes break your limbs and cut into your skin. We are not done with you then. We are just getting started.
You are thrown into the back of our trucks, piled high with your kin, those who sprouted from the seeds of the same tree. Every truck that drives away full is replaced with an empty one to carry away more. Each year we cut down fifteen million of you. The trucks are unloaded in vacant lots and city sidewalks where we unbind you briefly to evaluate your beauty and strength. Then, having made our selection, we bring you into our home.
I give you a nice cold drink after getting you arranged in the rack that holds your dying body. I give myself a nice cold drink too. I tighten the screws to keep you upright and steady while I have my way with you. I wrap strings of lights and beads around your open limbs then hang ornaments and candy canes from your most outstretched parts.
I don’t know if this is the right time to mention this, and I don’t even know if you’re a cat person, but I have never known a cat that did not feel safe and warm under the protective branches of a Christmas tree.
This brief season is not like any other. It is a season of giving and, if one is able and evolved enough, it is also a season of sacrifice. Not all sacrifice is intended, or given willingly. There is grace in sacrifice, even when it is unwilling, and you are nothing if not graceful. Your sacrifice is the ultimate one. It is one that I will also need to make one day and we both know that mine will be nowhere near as graceful as yours.
We place our presents at your trunk, boxes wrapped in pretty paper that represent our love for each other, and we ask you to bless them. Then, as you fade into death in our living room, we give you the only thing we have left to give you, the thing that we want for ourselves and each other but rarely receive: absolute adoration.