I finished half of my Christmas shopping last week. Didn't matter. Christmas felt vague. Santa looked alien. Christmas music felt premature.
Until last night...
The tree is up, in all of its stunted, unbreakable glory.
Christmas trees are my thing, even as a little girl. I would sit in the dark on the living room floor, only the lights on the tree glowing bright. Watch the light bounce off the sequined ice skating dolls. The cracked glass owl that hung on my dad’s childhood tree. Mommy’s handmade ornaments from their broke newlywed years.
Christmas trees are story tellers, weaving two families together into a new one.
Our story tree feels brief this year. We opted for a short, live norfolk pine because it offered a heavy root ball, and I decorated with only soft, unbreakable ornaments. This is mostly small one’s doing. She denuded the front half of a friend’s tree in five minutes. Even pulled all the ornament hangers out of the top of the glass balls.
Last night as I hung the final ornament, leaving most of my favorites wrapped securely in storage, I was a little sad. Our tree isn’t ugly, exactly... No, it’s ugly, but in that baby rhino, so-ugly-it’s-cute kinda way.
And I really love beautiful, tall trees. And glass ornaments. And white lights.
But the girls have an opinion this year, so we have a short tree with colored bulbs. And they love it so much that they stopped in their tracks and stared, mouths open, hands clasped to their chests.
They reminded me that Christmas is about a family, God's family. And about sacrifice, Jesus'. He gave up the splendor of Heaven so that I could have access. How much more can I give up the beauty of a breakable tree to give my girls a tree they can touch.