Each year I look forward to the day we are going to put up our Christmas tree. Out of everything we do to decorate and get ready for the Christmas season, I eagerly await the day we put up the tree. In many ways, I am worse than our fellas counting down the days until everyone will be home for us to begin.
When I know we are just a couple of days away from putting up the tree, I begin preparations. Space, where the tree is placed, is clean. Well organized Christmas decoration containers are taken out of their stored location. Ornaments are separated.
Holding each ornament in my hand, my heart is warmed.
You see, our tree doesn’t just hold store ornaments that have been added throughout the years. On our tree are ornaments with little hands of boys who would fall asleep in my arms. There are ornaments with barely legible handwriting from tiny hands just starting school. Ornaments that celebrate the birth of each son to who they are now.
My hands hold ornaments that celebrate my marriage and our journey along the way. From our first Christmas with my belly too large for me to see my feet to when we were able to celebrate our ten-year wedding anniversary.
Ornaments that hold smiles of joy when I finished my doctorate to ornaments that capture moments sacrificed being a military family. Ornaments that represent the ships where my hubby has served. Ornaments which represent how our lives have changed. Ornaments of loved ones no longer here but always present in our hearts.
With each ornament I unpack, I remember.
I hold each of these memories close. Even though some ornaments remind me of some of the most difficult times of my life, they are there as reminders of God’s faithfulness. I remember how He carried us through and smile.
These ornaments represent the stories of our lives.
When the time comes to decorate, each son takes turns placing their handmade ornaments on the tree. We talk about our memories, lessons we learned along the way, and hope we have moving forward. We laugh at the chubby little cheeks of boys who are now growing into young men. We remember.
This is my cherished tradition. I continue to look forward to the ornaments we have yet to add. The memories we will make. The ways we will continue to see the hand of God in our lives. Oh, how I enjoy putting up our tree.