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Grinches will not steal community’s spirit

This is a story about a tree and the spirit of Christmas generated by one local neighborhood.

Many years ago, a relatively small Christmas tree in the median strip on the corner of Georgia Avenue and Buchanan Boulevard became the recipient of an overflow of Christmas spirit by various individuals or families in that area. Random decorations began to show up on the tree a few weeks before Christmas and would disappear sometime in January.

Over the years, the number of ornaments increased and so did the tree. That tree grew and grew until it became far too big to decorate, so the community switched to a much smaller tree that did not appear to have been planted by the city and had apparently sprung up on its own.

It was a tree with heart, and it was a tree that Charlie Brown would have loved. The community loved that tree as well.

If the “decorators” were caught in the act, people would honk their horns, wave and sometimes stop to say “thank you” and “merry Christmas.” The essence of that tree was expressed by a young man who stopped one time to say that he loved Boulder City and that he “knew he was home when he saw that tree.”

The number of ornaments and decorations continued to grow each year. The only problem encountered by the tree(s) over the years was the wind. One wind storm caused such a problem with the tinsel and ornaments that city workers stripped them off and apparently threw them away.

That did not stop the decorators. The following year they increased the number of ornaments and attached some much-improved tinsel to the tree quite carefully with zip ties.

A few years ago, solar Christmas lights made an appearance on the community tree. Again, the decorations disappeared in January to rest until the following year when they made another appearance.

This year a very pretty set of solar multicolored lights that twinkled was added to the tree. The Charlie Brown tree that was cute and loved during the day became an absolute beauty at night. It simply brightened the spirit to see it.

Unfortunately, not all individuals have the Christmas spirit, and one or more of them obviously have a heart that is way too small. They are truly Grinches because they stole the solar lights from the community tree.

What kind of person would trim anything they owned with stolen Christmas lights and convince themselves they were celebrating Christmas?

These Grinches need to have a change of heart like Dr. Seuss’ character had. They need to discover that giving, not taking, is what brings joy to the heart. The real spirit of Christmas is love, just as God loved us all so much that he gave his only son to save us.

Perhaps we can all say a prayer for those whose hearts are too small and whose actions are so far removed from what Christmas is all about. The rest of us will still sing carols, go to church to celebrate Christ’s birth or simply enjoy the warmth and joy of our families.

We will wish one another well and do our best to help our neighbors. We, and the community tree, will continue to shine with love.

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