Some of my fondest memories surrounding the Christmas Holiday is centered around the Christmas Tree! From the moments we began to make plans as a family to set up the tree, to the defining moments that we spent as a family around that tree, to the way the tree stood majestically over all of the presents on Christmas Morning and even to the day that the tree came down signaling the end of the Christmas Season, the tree was the focal point of the Christmas Decorations in my home while I was growing up.
Oh, how I remember the excitement of putting up the Christmas Tree. For most of my growing up years we had an artificial tree. It was a very nice tree and it stood 7.5 feet high before we put the top on it. It was usually my dad and I that put the tree together and got it set up, but it was a true family affair when it came time to decorate the tree.
I remember many years my siblings and I putting the lights on the tree and putting the garland on the tree and while that was fun and holds many great memories, the real fun began when we started adding the ornaments. Every single ornament that went on the Christmas Tree was a little memory all to itself. I loved to listen as the stories behind the ornaments were told and even added a few stories of my own, as I got older. Our tree probably would not have won any design awards, but it sure meant a lot to me.
As I said, each ornament had its own story and that remains that way for me even today. While my brother and sisters all have their own trees to put up now and my mom and dad now celebrate their Christmases in Heaven, I still love to decorate the Christmas Tree every year! The ornaments still all tell the stories of Christmases Past. There is a plastic star that you insert a bulb in that was the very first ornament that I ever bought. I was at most five years old and it costed no more than 50 cents. There is another ornament of a reindeer and I can still recall the day when I begged my mom to buy it for me at Hills Department Store. I was probably about seven years old! There is a collection of about 7 or 8 Hallmark Ornaments that I purchased over the years for my mom and dad.
For several years I worked in retail and I received numerous ornaments from co-workers and vendors that I still love! I have ornaments that came from special places that I have visited, ornaments that I purchased as part of a fundraiser for different organizations and, my very favorite ornaments of all, the ones that were given to me as a gift from a family member or a friend. The latest ornament added to my tree falls into that category as a dear friend gave me a wonderful ornament last year to add to my collection of memories and decorations.
When I was a kid, as we finished the tree, the star was placed on top and we took some time to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. And then, the tree remained the focal point of the decorations in the house! Oh, we decorated the rest of the house and outside of the house as well, but the tree was the centerpiece and the other decorations revolved around it. The gifts were placed around the tree on Christmas Eve and, of course, we were all present and accounted for Christmas Morning when it came time to unwrap the gifts!
Alas, all things do come to an end and the time comes to take down the tree. Even in those moments, we would reminisce about the Christmas that just passed and the beautiful Christmas Spirit that we should embody all year long.
We all celebrate Christmas in different ways. Most of us likely have precious memories and I have learned that the older I get, the more precious those memories become. However, ultimately, we would have nothing to celebrate if not for the real reason we celebrate. Jesus Christ came to earth as a baby, but He did not stay in that manger. He became a man and as a man, He fulfilled the purpose of His Birth by dying on a Cross for our sins.
Enjoy your Christmas and I truly hope and pray you make a lot of new memories with family and friends. However, please don’t forget to include Christ in those memories and plans. Not as a baby in a manger but as your Risen Savior who is your best friend.