HERSEY — It was a tiny tree compared to many giants of the forest, but the little Blue Spruce that will grow up in Hersey is special in every sense of the word.

It was grown in a special forest.  At Duddles Tree Farm, in fact, and its purpose in life was to grow up to become a Christmas tree.  And it did.  It will be honored with that privilege next year, and the next, and for generations to come.

It was the community’s first Christmas tree, lit at a special celebration Friday night when people from all around gathered for Hersey’s first Christmas on Main.

There was some thought given to bringing in a big tree for the occasion, but then it was decided that a little tree in the big lot next to the township hall would have plenty of growing room, and, in fact, it could grow right along with the community.

The Hersey General Store had been on that lot once upon a time.  What better beautiful symbol of new growth could there be than the little Christmas that is, and the big tree it will some day become.

It is far more than just a little tree already.  After the official tree lighting ceremony, families gathered beside it to have pictures taken to remember this night when a few lights decorated the little tree.  Some day families will be able to gather again beneath its boughs, and over the years celebrate with it again.

And on this spot, the Christmas story was told, read from the Bible, the Book of Luke, a story from the ages, by a very young lady.  Abi Fruytier represented the Adrenaline Teen Ministry of Liberty Baptist Church with a strong voice warming the cold of the night.

The evening began for many at the Hersey Roller Mills Store where children visited with Santa and Mrs. Claus.  Then the two, the Clauses, walked hand-in-hand down the street to the township hall and the little tree that was waiting in the darkness nearby.

Ernie Clark, represented the township in welcoming the crowd, and John Calabrese, president of the Village of Hersey, offered remarks for the inauguration of “Hersey’s Christmas on Main.  A new tradition for our community.  Let it be a tradition built upon faith that the Season of Advent is the celebration of the Virgin birth of Jesus Christ, and the trust that Santa Claus is coming to town.

“We dedicate Hersey’s Christmas tree with the hope that it will inspire the merriment of the season in the people of Hersey, Michigan and serve as a reminder to future generations of the joys of Christmases past.  Merry Christmas.”

The countdown for the lighting of the little Christmas tree began, and whoosh!  The pictures began.  Hot cocoas was served, and soon after, Santa and Mrs. Claus walked hand-in-hand back the way they had come, back into the darkness, and likely to their waiting sleigh.

P.S.  A most special thanks to Hersey Heritage Days, LLC for hosting the event, in cooperation with the Village of Hersey and MOSAIC potash, and for the gift of a very special and memorable evening.