Sunday, December 9, 2012

The best Christmas tree ever...

There would have been a time in my life when I never, EVER, would have looked at our Christmas tree this year as worthy of praise.  A somewhat misshapen tree, far shorter than I would have liked due to our short farmhouse ceilings.  Ornaments crammed far too close together and in no good pattern or order.  Plastic, shatterproof balls hung in heavy balance on the bottom branches.  A hastily scribbled paper angel, made from a paper plate, topping the tree.  No, our Christmas tree would never grace the pages of Martha Stewart Living magazine. 

Yet, as I sit here alone in our living room....lights off and enjoying the glow of the twinkling white lights, I can't help but think back on the events of today.
...Of tromping in the rain through the mud, searching for just the right $10 tree.
...Of watching the boys with their Papa, sawing away with pride at the trunk that was soon to fall.
...Of hearing the repeated question over and over...."Is it time to start decorating the tree yet?"
...Of seeing the expressions of delight as they reached into the ornament bin to evoke memories of Christmases past.
...Of remembering that everything with their names or marks makes a place for them in the family.
...Of keeping in mind that each poorly glued, hastily cut paper ornament is a source of their pride.
...Of watching Anna Ruth pick out all of the Thomas Kincaid houses, for which she clearly demonstrated awe and delight, and gently carrying them to the tree, where she would hang the heavy ornaments ever so precariously on the end of the small branches.
...Of hearing the crack of ornaments, once considered precious, treasured objects.....collected over time from various jaunts and they bounced to the ground, breaking off this piece and that.
...Of seeing the big, sad, frightened eyes as they realized they had broken something considered special....though they had tried their best....the ceramic bagpipes from Scotland, the little Thomas Kincaid cottage....the bell with the Christmas scene.
...Of realizing these little people were experiencing great joy and wonder from holding these tiny treasures in their hands, and felt a deeper disappointment than I when the object slipped from their hands.
...Of bending down, tipping up chins, wiping off tears and reassuring their precious little spirits, and mine, that everything would be ok...and that those ornaments were just things.  Just stuff.
...Of giving hugs, restoring spirits, and walking them back to the ornament bin to try once again, with a good chance of further mishaps.

Yes, there would have been a time when this tree would have been an eyesore to me.  But no longer.  It has become more beautiful to me than diamonds....more precious than gold.  There will come a day, when I won't have these little hands helping me or tears to wipe away....when no one will consider placing five ornaments on a single branch.  I'll be able to have crystal icicles and glass balls to my heart's desire.  And yet....I'm not sure I'll want to.  It may just be that I always hang a paper ornament or two and Emet's little angel on the top of our tree....or at least his child's.  

What I have in my family now is a time of tradition, of wonder, of memories and joy, or stories and "remember whens"......all surrounding the mutual gathering and decoration of our little tree.  And when those precious memories drop to the floor in a pile of rubble?  Well, I then have a chance to touch and mend, to speak directly to the core of a wounded heart, assuring that little heart that it will always have a home and a safe place in our remind that little spirit what is important in life, and it's certainly not a fragile piece of painted ceramic.

And that life treasure....I wouldn't give up for anything. In fact, this might be the best Christmas tree ever.....Well, at least so far. :-)

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