Sunday, December 18, 2011

Stages of a Christmas Tree -- A Boy Changes Everything

It’s not decorated with mesh garland, twinkle lights and sparkles galore. It doesn’t look like a designer visited my home putting touches of class here and there. The large, ornamental decorations that once hung on branches are replaced with hand-crafted treasures made by little hands of all ages. It isn’t even as large as we normally get, but it was decorated by my two children with ornaments filled with their shining faces in photograph form to document the Christmases before.

I was recently made aware that throughout life there are stages of a Christmas tree. When Patrick and I were first married, we were paying off debt, so we bought our little Christmas tree from a vendor in a parking lot in Duncanville, Texas. I don’t remember what kind it was, but we both remember the smell. It smelled of orange and spice. The fragrance filled the apartment. One or two string of lights and a few, inexpensive store-bought tree ornaments. We saved and bought our first home and could afford a few more decorations. Each year I added to my collection. I LOVE Christmas ornaments. I was collecting red (because red is my all-time favorite color), musical instrument ornaments, and clear beading and clear icicles. We went from a few measly ornaments to a tree full of lights, bows, ornaments and garb.

Then came baby one. Erin was such an easy baby. I could simply say, “Erin, that’s not yours. Don’t touch,” and she would withdraw her chubby, baby hand. We never had to change a thing about our tree UNTIL baby number two. By Pearce’s second Christmas, the tree started out beautifully decorated, but before the month was over, EVERY SINGLE ORNAMENT was above the three-foot mark. He couldn’t reach up much higher. Our tree was naked on the bottom three feet.

This year and last year, I relinquished my claim of decorating the Christmas tree. The kids wanted colored lights. The kids placed all of the ornaments (which means we have clumps of ornaments and bare spots). One of my collector ornaments was dropped and broken, but it was worth the time we had together. I know these years will be few and rare, so I will gladly relinquish my need to decorate and cherish this time we have with the kids.

The next stage is back to the Better Homes and Garden tree where I decorate it by myself – I will have plenty of years to be obsessive about my tree. Then comes the small, fake trees that are pre-lit and fit in the corner of a small room.

This tree talk reminds me of another tree many years ago that went through the many stages of development only to be made into a manger for animals and eventually to be made into a bed for a baby boy. There is also another tree connected to this baby boy. This tree is just as rugged and rough, but instead of holding a sweet, innocent, baby boy – the hope for eternity, it held the man who hung on it voluntarily for my sin. It held my redemption. Regardless of how the tree is ornamented whether by baubles, photos or by lights, remember the most important event that occurred on a tree was to give us all new life.

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