• 64°

Reflections by the Sea: Christmas Trees

By Betsy Ore Glass

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16

I’ve seen many Christmas trees over the years. And I love them all. Ours has morphed into a collection of memories: ornaments crafted by kids and grandkids, gifts from friends and those that we picked up on trips. And each year I add a few too.

The first Christmas tree I ever remember was at my grandmother’s house. I was probably 4 or 5 years old. Her blustery cold cottage at the beach, with its wraparound porch, was the setting for my first memory of Christmas. She lived next to the woods where there was an abundance of scrub oaks, cedar trees, holly and honeysuckle vines. After a walk through the woods, the chosen tree was cut down and brought into the little living room. There was such excitement when it came time to decorate and I was included! The tree was tall and almost touched the ceiling and was nailed into a wooden stand. Grandmother lit the fireplace (it didn’t draft well and the room seemed to be somewhat smoky) and it took the chill out of the air. The fireplace has its own story. Because the soot got on the bricks above the poorly drafted fireplace opening, my grandmother took out her brush and paint can and painted over the bricks in bright red, leaving the white mortar lines. She was known for dressing up vases with a rim of gold paint, or a figurine with more gold. I remember thinking even then that the fireplace didn’t look good!! But the bricks were red and she was happy! The old string of lights that had large colored bulbs was woven in and out of the branches of our precious cedar tree.  Old cherished glass ornaments were hung up high so little ones like me couldn’t get to them.  My job was to put candy canes on the tree and if I was good, I could keep one for myself. I learned then from watching my grandmother and my parents that perfection was not the thing to strive for at Christmas. Yes, always do a good job. In fact, do you best. But to aim for perfection would have robbed us of fun, pleasant memories and a happy time of laughter. I look back and I am glad that the old beach cottage, now long gone, represented comfort, love, spontaneity, laughter and family. And yes, Christmas. Many Christmases since then and now, but those sweet early memories will reside in my heart forever.

I admit to liking the joy of hospitality and preparations leading to Christmas. But then I’ll catch myself as I realize I am striving for perfection at times, but when Christmas Day arrives and paper and ribbon is scattered all around, family is nibbling on sweets too close to dinner and I realize we are together and happy and that God has blessed us.

This year may be very different for many people. Keeping distance, longing for loved ones that have passed. Praying hard that things will come through with a job, or that business will pick up again. But the blessings are still there, perhaps in different ways. We may have to look harder for them this year. The spirit of Christmas is about love shared, love received and being grateful to God for the gift of His Son. Maybe we can ask God to show us ways we can promote love and joy among us this Christmas to give Him honor and glory.

Betsy Ore Glass has long-standing ties to the Outer Banks. From Virginia Beach, her family bought a vacation cottage in the 60s and her love of the area began. Later in the 90s, Betsy and her husband bought a weekend cottage and introduced the area to their children. Then Betsy’s parents retired to KDH where the family gathered often. Reach her at betsyglass1@gmail.com or read additional Reflections at www.betsyoreglass.com.

READ ABOUT COMMUNITY NEWS AND EVENTS HERE.

ALSO OF INTEREST:

Weekly Devotion – John 8:19

Reflections by the Sea: The Fruitcake

Schools

Tyrrell Elementary School receives $25k grant

Lifestyles

Banner tells history of Salvo Community Cemetery and erosion

Crime

Police in North Carolina make arrest in fatal shooting

Crime

Former North Carolina investment advisor loses appeal, judgement affirmed

Crime

Two wounded in early morning shooting Sunday in North Carolina

News

North Carolina officials say high school sports governing deal reached in principle

Crime

North Carolina man sentenced to more than 10 years in prison for charges related to drug trafficking

Lifestyles

Dare County Arts Council announces courtyard opening day event

News

Supporters of North Carolina man freed from prison gather outside Executive Mansion, call on governor for formal pardon

Lifestyles

Scuppernong River Festival to welcome Miss North Carolina Carli Batson as special guest

Crime

Prosecutors: Getaway car used by bank robber came from dealership test drive

Business

New private Christian school in Moyock celebrates grand opening

Lifestyles

Dare Radio Control Flyers public flying event to benefit food bank

Currituck

Aviation Day event in Barco to features aircraft displays, fly-ins, food trucks and more

Lifestyles

Bethlehem Primitive Baptist service canceled

Business

Sandra Buss named Employee of the Month at The Outer Banks Hospital

Business

Outer Banks Chamber holds ribbon cutting for AR® Workshop Kill Devil Hills

News

Oregon Inlet catch: State certifies new state record golden tilefish

Crime

Police: Woman shot after trying to run over officer in North Carolina

News

Fall striped bass season set in Albemarle Sound Management Area

Crime

Feds: Three people charged in multi-state migrant worker conspiracy

Crime

North Carolina man sentenced to more than 19 years in prison for ammunition charges

News

Dare Tourism Board awards 10 grants for upcoming events

News

Late Senate leader Marc Basnight remembered by former colleagues