There was a time I was against Christmas trees. Really. At that particular time, the Christmas tree (or not having a Christmas tree) seemed to be the expected thing to do at our church. That year I refused to put up a Christmas tree convinced it was an evil pagan celebration. Never mind I’d never had an orgy while the tree burned, I’d never worshiping the tree, or brought it into my home as a sign of fertility. That conviction only lasted for a year. I liked the tree, the music, the lights, the presents, and yes, the “Christmas cheer.”
Christmas is about the birth of Jesus, but I won’t tell you I think about the tree as a symbol of life in Christ, although it is true that we have life through Him. No, to me, the tree is just a traditional decoration. The reason I like it, however, are the ornaments.
I don’t know about your ornaments, but the ones on my tree tell a story.
- There are the ornaments that Ellie has made— painted ceramic with its colors bleeding into each other— little hands that were learning to paint.
- There is the ornament that Nina got on her first Christmas, when she finally had a family and was an orphan no more.
- There are the Ukrainian ornaments that speak so intimately about our adoption journey and our time in Ukraine.
- There are the ornaments my grandmother gave to me as a wedding present—a little piece left from my Mexican homeland and family—the same wooden stars and wooden horses that I held in my hands as a child while I helped my grandmother decorate her tree. I hear her voice singing Christmas carols, her laugh as she felt joy in decorating for the season. My children now hold those same ornaments in their hands and hang them on the tree. A little piece of of their heritage, of their great-grandmother, passed on to them.
My Christmas tree carries the richness of our family, our heritage, our triumphs, challenges, and joy. Every ornament brings with it memories, and prayers of thankfulness for God’s provision and presence in our lives.