We are now within weeks of Christmas. Friends have asked me what we have done to prepare our home for Christmas. I would like to share some of our new traditions in hopes they will help you during this bitter-sweet time of the year.
It may take two weeks to get our tree up and decorated because of our schedules but it now has a prominent place in our living room. We have dressed it with glass balls, heirloom ornaments and new sparkly ones. We have the handmade ornaments with pictures of the kids growing up and ones bought on family vacations to spark memories.
The new tradition we brought to our tree are ornaments which represent each of our loved ones who are spending Christmas with Jesus. Josh has a soldier, Beth a snowboarder, and Chris has two – a camping tent and snowboard boot. When we hung these we told stories and shed a few tears. They are with us in our hearts as we look at our tree.
There are a myriad of stories depicting where the tradition of the Christmas tree began.
- It is a Conifer which is green year round, even when the other trees seem to have died. To me it represents eternal life and stringing it with lights is like bringing the stars inside.
- The Vikings saw the evergreen tree as a symbol of strength. It survived the long, dark, cold winters. They brought this reminder into their homes. When things got really tough and they felt as though they couldn’t survive they would see the tree and remember to be strong.
What a great symbol for us who celebrate a ‘blue’ Christmas. Grief is similar to winter, it too is long, dark, and cold but God wants us to remember He is with us. Through Him we can be “strong and courageous’ (Joshua 1:9) while leaning on Christ. One reason He came was to “bind up the brokenhearted”.
My new favorite “flower” is the Poinsettia. It is one of few flowers which will only bloom in the dark. I feel my sorrow may have darkened my world but God brought forth flowers, beauty out of ashes.
May you feel God’s strength wrapped around you this Christmas season.
What will you do differently with your Christmas tree to remember your loved one this year?