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O Christmas Tree

I do it every year.  And I need to Quit!  

I set up my Christmas tree about a week ago.  All excited with anticipation.  Wanting things to be beautiful and magical for my children (even though they are 16 and 20).  Glitter and stars, twinkles and sparkles.  I pulled out the lights and strung them up close together so the tree would shine, first white ones, then blue ones.  Beautiful, dazzling.  Then I found the case of ornaments, pulled them out… and that is when it happened, just like it does every year….. my heart sank.

You see, my case of ornaments does not have in it shiny ribbon, glass balls, elegant bows and delicate decorations.  No, it has needlepoint plastic canvas santas and wreaths, misshapen angels and oddball trinkets.  Every year I loathe those needlepoints … I want somethings beautiful, that shines, that takes my breath away every time I walk in the room.  That glows with grace and style.  

The wishing, the longing, the inadequacy … it felt like a lump, like a pill ten sizes too big lodged in my throat, slowly, painfully sliding down to my heart.   Heavy…thick

But this feeling, this yuck… lasted but a moment (thankfully).  As I looked into the case of ornaments I saw something different.  I saw a story.  I saw our story.  Our ornaments tell a tale…. a tale of a life together… of family.  Needlepoint ornaments made while we awaited the birth of our first child; twisted wire and bare wood birds with string attached, made for our first Christmas tree; crooked angels made with lacy fabric and pipecleaner halos; baby’s first Christmas ornaments; a snowman with “Jared” printed on it.  Goofy ornaments of Peanuts characters, Bob and Larry vegietales, a boy riding a stingray.  Some are beautiful, gifts from my sister, a delicate glass bell, a blue ornament with gold ribbon commemorating the love between sisters.  Some ornaments are cute, Precious Moments children playing the piano, and another with ice skates.  Small ornaments of Mary, Joseph and the Baby Jesus, shepherds and an angel.  Each one special, each one connected to something or someone important.   Important to us… our family, our home.

The lump in my chest was replaced with tears in my eyes.  inadequacy became gratitude….  

With a full heart… overwhelmed by love and gratitude… I picked up a handful of needlepoint ornaments and with great respect I placed them on the tree…. first….to honour our life…. our story….

O Christmas tree…. O Christmas tree.  How LOVELY are your branches

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