Each Christmas my children received a dated tree ornament that represented the year. Reasons varied, like a favorite movie, a milestone achievement, learning a new instrument or moving to a new home. Our tradition was to exchange ornaments on Christmas Eve after reading The Tale of Three Trees and the Christmas story from the bible. Through the years, it was always my plan to give each child their ornaments when they got married or bought their first house.
I have just given a child her life’s ornaments.
I imagine her hanging them on the tree and she explains to her husband what each represents. Some of the ornaments are 27 years old, so I imagine her comprehending she is holding her history in her hands as she hangs the crocheted angels her grandmother made the year she was born. I know as she ages, the ornaments will increase in meaning each year as they continue to intersperse with the ones she will collect with her new family going forward.
New ornaments arrive each year.
The first ornament to go on my tree this year was this sweet bird. A dear friend hosted a prayer shower at her home a few weeks ago for my daughter’s wedding and marriage. Each person who showed up for brunch prior to prayer found this delicate ornament on their plate. I will never forget the friendship exhibited by friends showing up and prayers said for my daughter.
Another ornament making its debut on the tree is an oak leaf with a tag on it stamped OGB, which stands for One Gritty Blink. I took a leap of faith and created and facilitated a bible study this year that forged new friendships, bolstered my faith, and was prayerfully used by God to mature others in their faith (Colossians 1:28-29). A group of ladies that stood alongside me every step of the way gifted me with this ornament at the end. It will forever mark June 2020.
Some ornaments are dusted off for display.
My husband and I now have more ornaments than can ever fit on one tree, and fill several boxes. Each year I rotate what box I pull out so I never put the same ornaments up two years in a row. This year I grabbed a box I don’t believe has been opened in five years.
As I hung the ornaments in the dim light of evening, I kept taking pictures and sending texts. I hung a sand dollar ornament from my friend’s daughter’s wedding 15 years ago. I hung an ornament from my dad from 23 years ago, dated in his handwriting with a nickname only he calls me. Surprisingly, I hung an ornament from the year we got one of our dogs, Licorice, then about ten minutes later found an ornament from the year she died. We had her twelve years.
Ornaments help us remember.
In many ways, ornaments are our family’s “Jordan stones.” When all the nation had finished passing over the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, “…’Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests’ feet stood firmly, and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight.’”…When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord…So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.” (Jordan 4:1-3,6-7)
The greatest reminder of all.
As we show ornaments hanging on evergreen branches to our family and friends, recounting the goodness of God in our lives, let’s not forget to talk about Jesus who died on a tree to give us everlasting life.
Picture Explanation: Our Jordan stones.
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