Sunday, November 30, 2008

Christmas Tree 101

Today was our family's official "get into the Spirit of Christmas or bust" day. Since I'm headed to South Africa for a solid 13 days on Wed morning, today was the last day we could initiate the coming of Advent together. We bought a Christmas tree, decorated said tree, doused the house with a fair amount of Christmas cheer, and put the Holiday Play list on the I-Pod. We carefully extracted all the ornaments from their plastic tub and discussed where, when, and why we had acquired each one. The kids ooh-ed and ahhh-ed over the ornaments that had their pictures on them, the ones they made in preschool, and the ones I made in preschool. I have saved several ornaments that I made 30 years ago and the kids treat them like precious rubies.

Nothing on our tree matches. I'm 100% certain that Martha Stewart would be appalled by the lack of homogeneous fluidity exhibited in our front window.

But, here's the thing. The only tree I ever want in my house at Christmastime is the one that displays our chaotic family history. I can view the masterfully designed Christmas trees at the mall, or on TV. The one we decorate as a family tells a story that is unique and very, very heterogeneous. I could stress about how it looks and line up ornaments in an ABABAB pattern, or I could let my children hang ornaments wherever it fancies them.

I choose the latter.

May your advent season begin with authenticity and a remembrance of why we celebrate in the first place - a helpless baby born in a stable to save humanity......
Check this out .......RE-THINKING CHRISTMAS.......


  1. Amen. My favorite Christmas ornament is a pink "bell" I made in preschool. It's part of an egg carton that I painted pink and then strung a pipe cleaner through. I'm pretty sure the teacher put in the bell. It's a beauty. :-) It's still my favorite piece to add to my parents' tree. I'm glad I'm not the only one whose Christmas theme is life and love and family.

  2. you are a super star. i can't believe you came home from so cal and got on the tree so fast! i've been really mindful of you and the team and am already anticipating hearing about the trip!

  3. Although I am not Martha Stewart I do enjoy, appreciate and look forward to decorating (homes, offices, and holidays). With this being a part of how I've been made I love having the time, season and tradition of decorating for Christmas.

    Our upstairs tree and decor are admittedly mine to do (with help this year from our 9 yr old).

    The downstairs, bedrooms, bathrooms are up for grabs and the kids get to decorate the family room tree together. It is a fun and rather interesting part of the holiday for the kids to see ornaments Mommy and Daddy made when we were kids and those lovely projects they have made at school and here at home. It's so fun to hear them exclaim ... "You made this when you were a kid!" and place it on the tree wherever they want.

    We, as a family, also enjoy driving around various neighborhoods experiencing the lights, decor and often food drives being conducted. At the end of the day, we bring it back to the fact that without the birth of Jesus... everything would be worthless and meaningless.

    Through Jesus, we are gifted and blessed. It is our privilege to honor Him with our lives and to use the gifts given to help, serve and bring hope to others -- in love. Christmas is a great time for this but certainly only one of 365 days a year.

    The tree, lights, gifts are but symbols; our heart, actions and words will truly reflect how and if we authentically bring it back to our Heavenly Father.

  4. So fun! Your enthusiasm is encouraging me to get into the spirit of decorating. We do decor just like you...chaotic but meaningful.

    Have a wonderful trip to Africa...can't wait to hear about it


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