When Halloween has made its appearance and gone, I mentally begin preparing my Christmas decorating schedule. I check the calendar and pinpoint dates to hang the Christmas lights and make the trip to the storage shed to retrieve all of my Christmas decor. This is always entertaining, it never fails that I find Christmas items that I purchased the year before that I totally forgot about.
I get to feel the joy of shopping all over again.
One of the most protected boxes that is carefully planned and unpacked is my box of ornaments. It is treated like a family treasure that is securely tucked away to prevent any type of peril that could cause it harm.
Every single beautiful ornament in that well protected storage box holds a special memory that is very dear to my heart. Some of them tell a story of year’s gone by. Some were given to me by precious friends who are no longer with me. One of my favorite ornaments is a Mercury glass gingerbread house that is so large it comes in its very own box. It was given to me by a neighbor in Winnfield who passed away the next year. Every time I untie the red silk ribbon I think of her beautiful smile and joyful personality.
Some of the ornaments signify life’s milestones. The Lennox “Baby’s First Christmas Ornament” has faded quite a bit since 1998, yet I still hang it with pride. It has earned a permanent spot on the front of the Christmas Tree. The “Baby’s First Christmas Ornament” from 2006 lived a very short life as the child born that same year was way more rambunctious than her older sister.
I have often thought about shopping on Ebay for a 2006 replacement. Mainly so it doesn’t look like I play favorites with daughters.
Even though I do not have her official baby ornament, I have a profuse amount of glitter bombed, paper plate and popsicle stick ornaments made by her precious little daycare hands. It will always amaze me how the craftsmanship of these prized paper ornaments have survived the packing and unpacking for over a decade. I even believe they get stronger as every year passes by. I am ashamed to publicly admit it, these have a permanent spot on the back of my tree.
No one ever said I was a perfect parent. This mom loves an aesthetically pleasing tree too!
I also cherish a small wooden box of tiny Mercury glass Nutcracker ornaments. This treasure never leaves the house, it has a permanent place located indoors where it is temperature controlled. These were given to me by my mother who is no longer with us. She loved Christmas and believed in gifting you with precious things that would last a lifetime. If I am being totally honest, most years I do not hang them on the tree.
I just do not trust my small dog, outside cat and especially the inside Kat…with her stray volleyballs.
Along with these amazing memories that I love to relive, I also have those that bring me a certain amount of grief. There is the “Our First Year Together” ornament date stamped 1995 that may have slipped out of my hands, or thrown into the fireplace one Christmas. My memory is a little rusty. There are countless vacation ornaments purchased from various National Parks and destinations from family vacations. Some of these still hang on the tree because my daughters love them. I try not to make a huge deal out of it. I made a promise to myself to not spend much time pondering over the things that have changed. Sometimes life does not work out the way you plan. In fact, most of the time it does not.
Some of those ornaments truly feel like a Ghost from Christmas Past. It was so easy to get lost in wondering how things might have turned out.
Over the past few years the Lord has been reconditioning my heart to not dwell on the past. This is also when God began his mighty works in our lives. When I dwell on the things that are no longer in my life I begin to feel like Lot’s wife who was warned not to look back. Nothing good comes from living in the past in a sorrowful way. I am now looking forward to the good things the Lord has planned for us. He has not disappointed us yet and I know he will never forsake us.
I sincerely want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, especially my friends who are experiencing life changes of their own. You are loved by a Savior whose birthday is celebrated this very month.
“For behold I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
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