It’s that time of year when I usually have the house decorated for Christmas and almost all the presents purchased, wrapped and under the tree. hum -Not so this year!
Along with aging – comes a slowing, savoring of life and a choosing to use time for really important things. This year, we stayed with the season of Thanksgiving for awhile before moving on into the hustle and bustle of the commercial extravaganza America calls “the holidays”.
Like so many times before, my husband willingly put up our 9′ artificial tree on Friday. It’s not a fun chore, but this is his gift to me, and I appreciate it more than he knows. It’s an old tree that we purchased the first year we moved into this house. (2000) Each limb has a certain slot and each row of slots has to be careful filled with just the right color-coded stem. It’s tedious work and each year as we drag the oversized, duck-taped box out of the garage, we declare that we’ll get a new, lighted tree right after Christmas when they go on sale.
But once our large round blue spruce is adorned with lights, ages-old rose garland and collected ornaments, we realize that the newer versions can’t possibly be as beautiful as “our” tree… so we never go to the tree sale. Maybe this year will be different.
Today, I turn on Michael Buble Holiday setting a mood for pilfering through many plastic storage containers of ornaments. So many deeply special ornaments are tucked securely inside their own little box with handwritten notes as to their origin. As I open the first ones, my mind slips away into fond memories of when I first put that ornament on our tree and who’s generosity and thoughtfulness brought that bauble to our home. I smile with thankfulness at each glimpse as if that was the first time I had seen the specially chosen ornament.
Precious little booties that came from Grammy on Katie’s first Christmas (1986) and more throughout the years; the lion, the carousel horse and the metal Hummel.
The love birds and heart I purchased for us in 1985. The wooden bride & groom from Grammy on our first Christmas and the star tree topper for a very small tree so many years ago.
Sister’s beloved nativities – and Sarah’s remembrance of dancing with the Moscow ballet.
Kerry’s jumper from way before me and two ornaments from Liz – the ball from Spain when she was flying.
Artful and thoughtfully created gifts from Suzanne Conner, Debbie Reber & Ten Thousand Villages. So many people, such kind memories.
A Wedgwood Blue Jasper Ornament from Susan who never really liked us – but she had great taste in expensive ornaments so we kept it on the tree! Sheila brought a fox and squirrel which I love. Nancy Waugh, a dear lady in whom I found Bluefield in common. She was from WV and me VA, but we hold them close in our heart. The Danish ornament (2002) from cousin Edith in Denmark, the train from Karen and angel from my sweet friend Anne. … and in spite of my utmost care to package all the glass ornaments carefully in molded paper apple trays from Albertson’s these many years , there is an occasional breakage.
My most favorite and heart-warming ornament this year is from the hand of Joanna Francis (www.joannafrancislivingwell.com). I purchased this from her last December as she celebrated her last Christmas this side of heaven and commissioned her to paint a bird’s nest piece. She was an amazing example of how to accept the challenges life gives and how to make the most of each treasured day was are privileged to enjoy. I cherish what little I actually knew her, but recognize what a huge impact she made on me and so many others. It was her relationship with Christ that made the difference. “The joy of the Lord” was her strength.
I hope you have a wonderful Christmas season filled with fun, family and fond memories. Remember to let go of small stuff and embrace what it truly important as we celebrate the birth, death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Happy Birthday Jesus!