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My Dad and That Christmas Tree

December 18, 2017

Just as a good and loving father has compassion on his children,

so the LORD has compassion on us.

Psalm 103:13, RDSV

Today would have been my dad’s birthday.

I inherited much of who I am from him, including my complete lack of handyman skills.

Once upon a time our home was going to be part of a Christmas Open House Tour. My dad and I had gone tree shopping and found the perfect one for our bay window at the front of our home.

We wrestled it into the house. We wrangled it into the stand. Well, he did; I was about four years old and probably not much real help.

We were standing back and admiring it when my mom came home.

She took one look at our tree and chuckled.

“It’s a little too tall,” she said. “See how it hits the ceiling? See how about a foot of it curls over up there? And points back down at the floor? You’ll need to fix it.”

And she turned and left the room, smiling and shaking her head.

Less than five minutes later we called her back to the living room.

She came in, looked at our tree, and began to laugh and cry at the same time.

My dad had cut off the curled-over treetop, so that now it looked like the top of the tree was somewhere up in the ceiling.

“Why didn’t you cut the tree off at the bottom?” she asked, pointing to the tree stand.

I can still hear his reply: “It wasn’t too tall at the bottom. It was too tall at the top.”

Do I need to tell you that all three of us went to pick out the replacement tree?

While he wasn’t real handy around the house, he was great with people.

Especially my older half brother and me.

He not only regularly told me that loved me, he left no doubt about that in the ways he cared for me. I knew, and I never had to wonder.

A line from the Book of Psalms that usually finds its way into graveside services I’m honored to do comes from Psalm 103:13, Just as a good and loving father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on us. If the deceased is a woman, it’s easy to be inclusive: Just as a good and loving parent has compassion on her or his children, so the LORD has compassion on us.

I had a great dad. Was he perfect? No, and he’d be the first to say that. And probably have some great stories to prove it.

But I learned a lot from him, and I’m thankful for him.

And I miss him.




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