As Fox News contributors Michael Bartiromo, Janine Puhak, and Ann Schmidt collectively report: "We’re not talking about smaller critters like ants or spiders — we’re talking marsupials and birds of prey."
The article then goes on to report that, after a year of what might be termed unwanted and unwelcome surprises, the waning months of 2020 proved no different for a handful of homeowners whose Christmas trees seemed to have attracted unwanted and unwelcome tenants.
The writers then proceed to list an assorted array of creatures that have manifested themselves between the branches of otherwise normal Christmas trees this year. Among them are…
The first and likely most famous was a tiny northern saw-whet owl found to be living inside NYC’s Rockefeller Center Christmas tree by workers who unwrapped the Norway Spruce in Rockefeller Plaza. Later named "Rockefeller", the owl was transferred to a wildlife center in Saugerties, N.Y., before it was set free.
In the land down under, the McCormick family of Adelaide, South Australia, returned to their home one evening in early December to find a koala living in their tree. It was later determined that the koala had likely wandered into the house when they had opened the doors to leave home earlier that afternoon. Animal control eventually responded to detangle the koala from the tree’s lights and set it free.
Back in the USA, a Florida resident named Aubrey Iacobelli initially thought a stray cat must have entered through her pet door and settled in her Christmas tree early one morning at approximately 4 a.m. She soon discovered that it was no cat, but rather a raccoon. The ensuing hour long struggle to evict the unwelcome tenant with the assistance of her dog, complete with destruction of the tree and much household décor, was actually caught on video.
A Sparrow Hawk
Equally as alarming, Louise Anderson, of Ellon, Scotland, called police after a sparrow hawk made its way into her house and took up residence in her Christmas tree. "It was there for about 40 minutes – it was a spectacular bird," she told the BBC. Shortly thereafter, authorities responded, and removed and released the lesser bird of prey.
A Copperhead Snake
And then, as if the wildlife down in Australia were not to be out done, Tasmania resident Felicity Richardson found an actual copperhead snake under her Christmas tree! She trapped it under a pot until a local reptile specialist could arrive and dispose of the intruding creature.
At his point, I needed to read no more. I had visions of the chaos resulting from the fictional Griswold family bravely confronting a squirrel in the tree in their living room in the movie Christmas Vacation. I then ventured into our own living room and gave our own Christmas tree a thorough visual inspection. Fortunately, I did not discover anything amiss.
(Moreover, upon further reflection, I really do not know what I would have done had I actually found anything. Most likely, I would have jumped atop the couch and yelled for my wife!)
All jokes aside, it strikes me that the multiple assaults on Christmas trees manifested in 2020, and especially the one undertaken by a snake, is nothing new. In point of fact, it was a serpent that showed up and menaced those who experienced the very first Christmas.
After all, the Bible informs us way back in Genesis chapter 3 (verse 15) that an old serpent would seek to harm God’s anointed Servant by striking Him in the heel. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that Satan would move upon wicked King Herod (as recorded in the New Testament Gospel of Matthew, chapter 2) to attempt to strike down God’s Messiah in His infancy. As we now know, God completely thwarted that attempt.
Of course, little has changed in the intervening 2000 years. Each and every year since then, especially at Christmas time, the evil one has sought to interject his presence and somehow ruin the season. In this respect, 2020 was no different.
This year, of course, his chosen tool was some newfangled thing called "Covid-19". And yet, try as he might, despite all the fearmongering and panic, despite all the quarantines and lockdowns and restrictions (many of which were authorized by the state), he never quite managed to undo, or even to lessen the significance of, Christmas!
Why? Because all the menacing posturing notwithstanding, the presence of an unwelcome animal cannot undo the majesty of a Christmas tree. Nor can the presence of an unwelcome adversary in any way undo the very meaning of Christmas itself!
The same Genesis passage that predicts that the serpent would strike the heel of God's Chosen One also tells us that the Messiah will ultimately crush thee head of the evil one!
So let Satan keep right on posturing! Let him keep right on showing up and bluffing with all his pretentious ferocity! He had no power against that first Christmas, and all God was up to in it; and he has no power against Christmas here and now, nor all God is up to in its midst!
If nothing else, Christmas 2020 has surely proven what Christmas has always been about: "Joy to the world!" Our ageless Savior wins, and our age-old enemy loses!