We USED to be a Real Tree family... I do miss the smell and the hunt and the family outing - but then we went for years with no tree, replacing it with a manger and baby Jesus and a Star hung from the ceiling.. we laid gifts around Him and it was never once an option to forget what Christmas was about!
I loved that - and we still do that, but then our girlie was a little older, and having not been raised in a church going home, there was not a lot about the holidays (tradition-wise) that I could pass down... but decorating the tree - that was something I remembered as a child! So my Mom gave us our old fake tree, and we were thrilled to have it! A few years ago, a friend was moving and downsizing and gave us a pre-lit tree - she said you just take it out of the box, it clicks together (instead of having to assemble the tree, limb by limb) and TaDa - you are done! While it is just barely taller than me (which is not saying much!) - and it is rather - well - See Through... it is done and ready for ornaments in two minutes flat!
So - while I dream of buying a taller, fuller tree after Christmas each year, this little tree does the trick and instantly adds magic to our celebrations! However, I have to say I was not quite as excited to click together the holidays this year.
Last year was rough... a lot of dreams died, expectations and plans, hopes and hearts were broken... a long season of restoration was at hand... and all the while - we needed a sense of Home... of Security... of Joy! We NEEDED to remember what we stand for, how precious our little family of 3 is; we needed a sense of normalcy when everything else within us and around us felt oh so unstable and unsure! So - the tree stood... in the corner of our Family Room... for not weeks, but months. For not one or two... but for four or five!
It got to be embarrassing to have company over... not so much in January - or even February... but come Easter - this was ridiculous, right? It was not even healthy, maybe? And yet - it served a purpose... and putting it up again this year, I was afraid it would have lost some of the magic!
But I see the wisdom now in serving our children, in ministering to them in ways that speak to them even if it appears crazy to onlookers. I see the wisdom in providing for them a place of Home when they are hurting and scared and unsure! While others may have assumed us lazy, or maybe seriously ill, what the presence of that tree represented in a season that was not Christmas, that was not festive, that was not rooted in celebration, was all that is holy in this house.
While I make Handmade Cards, and wrap the gifts; while I wait for snow and turn up the Christmas carols, I sip my morning coffee and gaze at the twinkling lights on our little tree... and I realize that it is a tree, once again, connected to Christ that has brought healing and hope to us and that continues to light the way!
May it - may HE - do the same for you and yours!
P.S. "Tuesdays Unwrapped" is hosted by Emily Freeman over at Chatting at the Sky... every Tuesday in December, she writes about an everyday gift that may otherwise go unnoticed... instead - she slows down on purpose, and unwraps the gift in the midst of the lovely, the messy, the unexpected - and she invites us to do the same! To join in, or read what others' are counting as Gifts, click HERE!