Every year the lead up to Christmas day leaves me overwhelmed and exhausted, far from the joy and peace that the songs of the season conjure up.
This state of frustration is of my own doing, I have matured enough to recognize my errors. But, alas, each year my need to give handmade gifts to the people on my gift list, my inability to weed out a few annual commitments, and my hopeful optimism that better planning will bring me through December experiencing the perfection that is painted in story books leaves me feeling the same way year after year.
One of the traditions that suffers because of my chaos and has gotten pushed farther and farther down the priority list is the Christmas tree.
Early in our marriage, Dear Husband and I spent many hours searching all the tree sellers to find the “perfect” fresh cut tree. Once discovered, we brought it home and lovingly decorated it with all our ornaments. Usually this process was completed two weeks before Christmas and remained until the second week of January.
Over the last few years though, putting up the tree has felt like another chore needing completed and my desire to even have a tree has waned. Not only does putting the tree up feel hard, but that thought is quickly followed with, “just have to take it down again!” “Bah, Humbug!”
This year Dear Husband brought a tree home just one week before Christmas Day. The tree selection was made, not after searching for “perfection,” but instead the main qualifier was price, aka cheapest. Fortunately, our inexpensive tree has pretty good shape and size too. Once placed in the tree stand and positioned in the living room corner our tree stood decoration-free for many days.
Dear Husband got the process started by putting the lights on while the kids and I were serving at our church’s soup kitchen on Thursday evening. Coming home to a tree filled with colorful lights was a wonderful gift and just enough spark for my weary soul. Friday morning I dug out the Christmas ornament boxes for a day of tree decorating.
An amazing thing happened as I surrendered the worries of other unfinished tasks and submerged myself in the unpacking and hanging of our families treasured Christmas ornaments. Our boxes of tree trimmings are filled with a hodge-podge of mismatched, multi-colored decorations, they will never be seen in the pages of home decorating magazines. But as I unpacked and hung each ornament, I was reminded of Christmases past. Memories of events, gifts and most especially people, flooded in.
Each ornament has a story,
Each ornament is like a blanket of love filling our home with the wishes of comfort and peace from the loved ones we have been blessed to walk beside in our journeys. Our Christmas tree is a tangible reminder of God’s love shared with us through these people.
“I truly believe that if we keep telling the Christmas story, singing the Christmas songs, and living the Christmas spirit, we can bring joy and happiness and peace to this world.” –Norman Vincent Peale
May you all feel God’s comfort and love this Christmas, and may you take the opportunity to share it with others in this new year. Merry Christmas!