My Christmas tree is lovely. Yes, I did buy it out of the back of a truck at Costco. His name is Bob, according to my kids. He might have started as some ordinary tree, but not he’s special. Super special.
I know what you are thinking. That tree looks nothing like a magazine picture. It has needles falling all over my floor. The lights are haphazardly tossed on. The garland isn’t evenly spaced. The ornaments don’t match. It has no theme. I hear you. And I will still tell you that my tree is absolutely beautiful and I would take it over any other tree.
I took so many pictures of this tree. I know years from now, my tree will evolve. It always evolves. It is always a little snapshot of my family. A peek into that particular time. It has some heart warming memories of Christmas past, but each year, each tree is different. It is a picture of where we are as a family. A picture of where we have been. A snapshot of the journey so far.
One day we may forego the whimsical colored lights and replace them with more sophisticated and somber white lights. The old ornaments may not make it. The kids may decide that they are too old for the handmade ornaments. We may replace the live tree with a more sensible and less messy fake version. Our tree will reflect our changing family. It’ll reflect the journey. And where we’ll be isn’t where we are. And I know I will miss this. I know I will. Despite my complaints about paint on the table all the time and never ending diaper changes, I know all of this is temporary. The family we’re building, that is eternal. But these stages, these don’t last. They come and they go. The kids grow.
One day the kids will realize that Jesus feeding the five thousand isn’t a Christmas miracle. They’ll decide to skip putting him on the tree. One day, the little bells won’t be as much fun to untangle (and retangle). One day they may not want to sit and make little button Christmas tree ornaments to hang on my tree.
In fact, one day all too soon, they’ll have trees of their own. And I’ll wrap up what is left of their handmade ornaments, if I can bear to part with them, and pass them on. And they may or may not put them on their own tree. That part doesn’t concern me much. But the journey will go on.
The journey will not only go on, it will go in six different directions! My one tree will grow into six different trees. It’ll change. And I’ll miss these little days. And I know that I will love my tree then. It’ll tell the story of where we’ve been. A story that isn’t without twists and turns, but a story of our family. But right now, this is the absolute best tree I could hope for. You can see my children in the ornaments. Colored lights picked for their enjoyment. A real tree because it makes them happy, and makes The Pastor happy. Beaded garland because that is the most beautiful thing they have ever seen. Handmade ornaments proudly hung by little hands (mostly along the bottom of the tree).
Instead of hoping for the day when I get a “good” tree, I choose to embrace the beauty of this one. I choose to find happiness and beauty in these little years. It will be gone before I am ready.
One day they won’t need Dad’s help to put the star on the tree. One day being the one chosen to put the star on the tree won’t make their entire Christmas. (And one day the others won’t cry about NOT being chosen.)
But this year, right now, I have the most beautiful tree.