It's only 6:15 in the morning and I've been up for almost two hours now. In the quiet and solitude I have been taking down Christmas. This is the task I always dread...not because of the work involved, but because it is such an emotional time for me. Of course I will need and welcome my hubby's help to carry the boxes to the basement, drag the tree down the steps, and remove the wreaths from the windows. But taking the hundreds of ornaments off the tree (yes, hundreds) is something I almost always do by myself.
I love the Christmas season. All of it. I love what we celebrate, the greatest moment in all of history when God came to dwell among us. I love the story that will never grow old. I hate putting all the stuff away that brings back so many precious memories of Christmas past. Because it's not really the "stuff"...it's the relationships that the stuff represents. God came to live and die as one of us to show us how to have an intimate relationship with Him. Relationships are important.
My ornaments aren't valuable in terms of their retail worth. Many of them are hand made. A few are pretty old and have sentimental value. But all of them hold a memory of a special time or of a person or a place. For 35 years now I've been accumulating ornaments and tenderly packing them away at the end of each season. I don't mean to have so many! But it just happens. The oldest one was my dad's favorite. He first hung it on the tree the year I was born. Then there's the plaster ornaments I painted for each of our boys for their respective first Christmases; the stuffed ornaments I sewed years ago; special ornaments friends and family have given me over the years; Ornaments my kids made when they were little...and now ornaments my grandchildren have made.
These are sacred moments for me. A quiet time where no one except God knows my inward thoughts. Only He really understands why this is so emotional for me. I don't understand it myself. I always cry. My mind always goes back in time to remember people who were once a part of my life and aren't any longer...to former times and places that have helped to shape who I am today. Maybe that's it...These ornaments help tell a story...my story...my life. It's a story of generations too. Four generations of our family are represented here. This really isn't about stuff...it's about people. People whose lives have in some way intertwined with mine. I am so blessed.