I am of two minds about Christmas trees.

I like to see live evergreens such as spruce or pines decorated with lights and ornaments.

But I am saddened when I see a tree that has been cut down — killed — and brought into someone’s living room, which is a death room for the tree. What an indignity for a tree that looked so beautiful in its natural environment. Indeed, the plight of these trees reminds me of the Easter story, in which Christ was decorated with a thorn of crowns . . .

OK, I know I am tad oversensitive about this. But I do believe all living things have spirit — are manifestations of the One — and that we should kill responsibly. It seems to me that killing trees so they can be used for two weeks in our “living rooms,” then cast away by the curb, is not responsible at all, that it somehow betrays the true spirit of Christmas. I mean, what would Christ have thought about it all?

Which is why I have a small, artificial tree in my living room . . . smiles . . .

Still, the Christmas tree is far more than a “decorative addition” to the holiday celebrations, whether you celebrate this season for the Winter Solstice or the story of Christ or simply for the goodwill that comes with it all. In a short article called The Christmas Tree, Regina Z. Thackara shares some insights about the meanings behind all the lights (“candles”), ornaments and tinsel — and the star at the top.

An excerpt:

We can perhaps see behind the outward glamor of the tree with its candles, balls, silver tinsel, and a shiny star at the top, by looking at it again with an open heart and listening to what it can tell us. In ancient philosophies and religions, for instance, we find that the tree has often been used as a symbol for the universe, whose roots sprang forth from the divine heart of all things and whose trunk, branches, twigs, and leaves were the different worlds and spheres. The colorful glass balls on it then stand for the manifold planets and globes, connected with everything else throughout the cosmos by the symbolic tinsel and gay festoons. And the candles: in one way, they represent the divine spark that is in every living being, linking us all together on a higher level and making of us potential gods. But they also denote light, which brings forth and is all life in the universe. Light is both spirit and matter, so that everything is really a form of light. Finally, the star at the top of the tree may symbolize our own highest self or, from a universal standpoint, the divine essence of the cosmos towards which all of us as god-sparks are striving.” —  from The Christmas Tree by Regina Z. Thackara

Such a lovely piece of writing by Regina . . .