By Charly SHELTON
any who have passed by the former site of the Dragon Thrift Shop on Foothill Boulevard in La Cañada have seen the tree growing out front, right by the sign. This tree, which looks like a Christmas tree, takes on a special meaning this holiday season. Whereas most Christmas trees are adorned with ornaments and a star on top, this “Tree of Peace” will be adorned with hopes and prayers and white ribbons, courtesy of St. George’s Episcopal Church.
“I noticed that we had this tree out front that somewhat looks like a Christmas tree. The thought came to me that especially with what’s going on in the world today, a lot of escalating violence, it would be a neat thing for people to make some sort of public and private declaration of hoping and praying for peace throughout the world,” said Rev Anthony Keller, deacon at St. George’s. “So I thought why not set up the tree there and supply ribbons for people to be out front on their own time, at their own pace. Whenever they want they can stop by and tie a white ribbon to the tree and hopefully by Christmas Eve and the start of the New Year it will be covered with people’s hopes and dreams for peace throughout the world.”
The Tree of Peace will be designated with a sign and a little mailbox will be installed nearby to keep the fresh ribbons out of the weather. Anyone who walks by will be able to grab a white ribbon from the mailbox and tie it to a sprig of the tree, adding his or her hopes and prayers for the world to the collection.
This is also, Rev. Keller said, not a strictly Christian practice. Although it is taking place on the St. George’s Episcopal Church property, this practice of sending positive thoughts and prayers is for everyone.
“It also makes me think of the Buddhist practice with prayer flags,” Rev. Keller said. “[Buddhists] believe that, with prayers attached [to the flags], the wind carries the prayers north, south, east and west. With the ribbons on the tree, when the wind blows they’ll do the same thing, which is kind of a very interesting and moving way to think about hopes and prayers being sent around the whole world.
“The cool thing is it’s nondenominational, it has nothing to do with any particular sect or religion, or even spiritual beliefs. It just plays into humanity saying, ‘Hey enough of this violence, let us pray for peace’ and it’s a simple as that.”
The Tree of Peace is located at 822 Foothill Blvd. in La Cañada.