I put up our new Christmas tree this week. When we moved, I tossed our old one, so I knew I'd have to get a new one this year...which was a good thing because I had to find a "slim" tree to fit the space I have in our new home. After I'd decorated it, I laughed and told Andy I was only able to put half of our ornaments on it because it was so much smaller. Brenda, at church last night, asked me how I was able to choose which ones to use and I told her I just started putting ornaments on from the top of the box, but then began to dig for my favorites.
I love Christmas! I love everything about it. You will find me lighting the tree every morning just to sit and enjoy it with my cup of coffee. I'll love it even more when snow is falling outside that big picture window right beside it. I'll sit in a chair across from it so I can see both at the same time.
As I sat enjoying my tree this morning, I realized my life is just like that Christmas tree. It's not perfect and it's full of wonderful memories. Marcy Hallden commented on Facebook, "Honestly, I have gone soft in my old age. Our tree is only about the kids now--no more magazine trees for us. I quite like it that way!" Me too, Marcy. I tried the magazine tree one year with only one color, lots of ribbon, etc. But it just felt flat. My tree is not perfect. Ornaments don't match. No ribbon. But each ornament on that tree evokes a memory and an emotion.
This paper snowflake was created by my great-niece, Hannah. It evokes a powerful emotion in me. She made it the year her mother almost died from an anuerysm after giving birth to her baby sister. Oh my! How we battled in prayer for Emily's life. Our family was connected moment-by-moment for weeks. Hannah's teacher stopped by Borger to pick up some things I was sending to the family and she dropped off a card from Hannah and three paper snowflakes. I carefully put those snowflakes in the box each year when I take my tree down. I treasure them because they were a promise that new life was coming to Hannah's family like fresh-fallen snow.
The candlestick ornament above it is one of a set Andy & I made our first Christmas. It's all we could afford--to make and paint our own ornaments. What a memory!
This is my all-time favorite ornament...simply made out of red yarn and foil. I believe Zach was in kindergarten when he made it. He was so proud of it and wanted to hang it himself each Christmas. And then when my granddaughter, Caitlin, was almost three, she saw it hanging on my tree and asked, "Gran, why is there trash hanging on your tree?" We all died laughing!! It became even more special after that. In fact, Zach has helped each niece and nephew make one just like it.
The ornament above that is a bread dough ornament we got one year when we went to Red River for our anniversary. It has the names of our immediate family on it. We got one just like it for the grandparents with all of their grandkids' names. I'm immediately taken back to Red River when I look at it.
My tree has taken 39 years to evolve. It began with those first Christmas ornaments that Andy & I made and painted after we were first married. There are ornaments our children made. There are ornaments given to us by friends--like the "Merry Christmas Y'all" ornament below Zach's. As I hang my ornaments, I think of all of those things--time, places, loved ones, emotions. Do my silver beads hang straight? No. But neither do the events in my life. Is it magazine worthy? No. But it brings delight to me.
My life is very much like this Christmas tree. I think God looks on in delight in the same way at our lives. Each event in our lives may appear to be a tattered or ordinary ornament--but yet the whole completed picture of the tree of our life becomes a sparkling and beautiful reflection of His grace.