It is the beginning of December and that means the annual frenzy to get the house ready for the season.
Right now, it looks like Christmas threw up. Not a pretty sight. Boxes are strewn everywhere. There is foam and fake pine needles all over the floor, and half-done shopping lists and baking lists cover the counter. You can barely move without having to shift something else first. I rush around, doing one thing, until I spy another that needs to be done just as much, and stop and tackle that. The boys try to be helpful where they can, but they don't think like me (imagine that). (Actually, that is a great blessing.)
Currently I am unpacking the boxes of ornaments for the "family" tree.
And in this activity, I get my first Christmas miracle.
This is the tree of memories. I have the pretty tree in the living room, but this tree holds my heart.
I unpack ornaments that graced my tree as a child: a knitted stocking Mom made, needlepoint I did, wooden Santas as old as the hills that may have even come from Mom's tree growing up, my grandmother's Hallmark carousel ornaments. I praise God that I grew up in the family that I did, with love and joy all around, and with Christmas memories that still bring me to tears.
I unpack the first Christmas ornaments that my mom so lovingly picked out for me and Keith, and Christmas ornaments that we got for our wedding from the Huffs and the Fontaines. I praise God for a loving husband. Even though he went home to Glory early, I would not have traded one moment with him.
I unpack the ornaments made by the boys over the years. Some are crude and falling apart, but they make me smile. I praise God for loving children, who love God, and who love me, despite my cranky days.
I unpack ornaments that Shari and Julie helped my boys to make a year after Keith died, the presents they gave me that year. I praise God for friends who care enough to make my Christmas special.
I unpack a bell from Becky's wedding, and bluebirds from Courtney's, favors that have graced my tree since those blessed events. I think back to the beautiful brides they were and praise God for their marriages and their children.
And then I find it. It doesn't look like much, but to me, it is priceless. Aunt Hilda gave my sister and me each one...can't even remember when. It is about 1" x 1/2" x 2"...Mary, Joseph, and Jesus in a little glass box. From the time I was little, I just knew looking at this ornament that it was real...He had been here as a baby, and a man, for me.
And that is the greatest miracle of all.
I pray that this moment can stay fresh in my mind through this entire Christmas season.
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. - John 3:16