We went to cut down our Christmas tree today at the Fir Farm. (Anyone in the Ithaca area– this is a great place to cut down your own tree!) They have candy canes and Christmas cookies and hot chocolate in the restored 1800s barn, and beautiful horses outside, and they give you a little saw and you just go pick your tree and saw it down. (Photo of John sawing the tree down, above. I love getting to carry the camera around while he does all the hard work! Though to be fair, I did carry the saw back to the barn.)
We set up the tree and decorated it, using our old shell ornaments that we made our first year of marriage, when we did not own one single ornament between the two of us. That December, we went down to Atlantic Beach one windy afternoon and picked up a few dozen seashells, and then John meticulously drilled tiny holes in them and we hung them on our tree. We love them. Now we have more ornaments, all gifts from sweet friends, and it’s wonderful unwrapping them from the tissue paper and remembering.
“The dark pit of human life, inwardly and outwardly barred, sinking ever more hopelessly and inescapably in the abyss, is torn open by main force, and the word of God breaks in… The labyrinth of the life he has so far led falls to ruin… The whole of the past is comprised in the word forgiveness. The whole of the future is in safe keeping in the faithfulness of God… Faith means being held captive by the sight of Jesus Christ, no longer seeing anything but Him, being wrested from my imprisonment in my own self… ” (Bonhoeffer, Ethics 120-121).