It was a tree Faith Lutheran Church in Courtenay planned to use for its Christmas tree this year, but someone else helped themselves.
The fir tree stood about eight feet tall, and the church was expecting to cut it down for the season, though a little closer to Christmas.
The tree was firmly rooted in the soil at the start of the weekend but gone by the end, except for a couple of feet at the base of the trunk.
“It was there on Saturday, but when we came on Sunday morning, it was gone,” said Pastor Tim Rumsch. “Somebody had chopped it down. It was little disheartening.”
It looks as if the person used a hatchet to take down the tree rather than a saw.
“It looks like a beaver chewed it off,” he said.
The culprit also took some tree lights that had been strung around an adjacent cedar tree.
“They got the tree and the lights,” he said with a chuckle.
There was talk about cutting down the fir late last week, but Rumsch asked the members of the congregation to consider delaying the cut until closer to Christmas.
“We kind of celebrate the season of Advent, and then we wait until closer to Christmas to put up the tree,” he said.
The tree had taken root several years ago, Rumsch added, and had grown to the point where it was a little too close to the church. They had contemplated using in recent years.
“This year was the year we were going to do it,” he said.
Trees have a long history within the Lutheran Church, Rumsch said, with special meaning during the winter.
“It’s an old, old German tradition, and we put lights on the tree. This is kind of a long, dark period of the year,” he said. “Metaphorically, we think of that darkness as symbolic of the darkness of death and the darkness of sin, and then the light of Christ comes into the world and we welcome that at Christmas Eve. That’s where the symbolism of the light comes from.”
Rumsch is not sure whether someone would cut down the fir to use themselves or to sell, and he does not expect to find the answer.
“Maybe somebody will have that light of our Christmas tree in their home,” he said.
Faith Lutheran is still planning to put up a tree for the season, even if it’s not the one they expected.
“We’ll still have a Christmas tree, but we’ll just have to go and purchase one someplace,” Rumsch add.