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Boston's Christmas Trees Express Warm Holiday Spirit

Column by Michael K. Chung


It is easy to expose oneself to the holiday spirit -- just wander around town. The malls and shopping centers seem to be eternally dressed up for the holidays; and then when the lights go up in Fanueil Hall, Harvard Square, and other parts of town, the holiday atmosphere fills the city.

Last weekend, a tree was lit at Boston Common and the Prudential Center. According to The Boston Globe, the tree at the Prudential Center comes from gracious Nova Scotians. Seventy-five years ago, the collision of two ships in the Halifax Harbor caused an explosion which killed thousands and destroyed a neighborhood.

Boston responded by sending relief: doctors, nurses, food, and supplies, and to this date, the Canadians continue to display their appreciation for Boston's goodwill and assistance.

Another tree, again from the Canadians, is on display at the Boston Common. It was given by the children of New Brunswick to the children of Boston.

A newer tradition, dating back ten years, according to the Globe, is in response to Boston's generosity in answering to a brutal fire, which took hold of Saint John in 1877. The majority of the city was destroyed, including 13 churches and the homes of 13,000 people. Another American city -- Chicago -- had a hand in helping Boston's close international neighbors. It is heartwarming to see these large works be lit, even more so when one learns of the relatively recent histories pertaining to each.

The presence of the trees is also convenient in a sense -- these gifts during the holiday season reflect the generosity and warmth of all people. Not just one type of religion or people was represented, but instead, humanity was represented, as was the idea that the holiday season ought to spread happiness, cheer, generosity, and love from all people to all people.

Whether a tree or a "non-denominational holiday shrub" is used, the meaning is the same: the holiday season should be a time to remember and express our love for our fellow man and religious figure, as the case may be.

This is a treasured time of reflection and hope. You can feel the engrossing powers of the Yuletide season, and realize that there is more than the splendor and the giving and the receiving of the season that makes it fun. The time allows us to reflect on the tradition of the season, the goodwill and generosity of mankind, individual mementos and their histories, and the times we have had and will spend with family and loved ones.

As evidenced by the Boston Christmas trees, the holiday season knows no boundaries in terms of title, religion, race, or sex -- its spirit is enough to allow us to realize and express love for humanity.