I think we have the best Christmas tree of our time. It is the best because I can remember a number of years ago when I was still drinking and we could not afford a tree. My wife and kids actually had to construct a tree from some cardboard tubes. The kids seemed ok with it but to this day I am not sure if they thought it was a good tree or they understood my drinking was the reason our celebration was so meager.
It is the best because the ornaments tell the story of our marriage. Hanging somewhere on that tree are 43 Norman Rockwell Christmas ornaments. He is one of my wife’s favorite artists. Back in 1974, the year we were married, I began to give my wife the Rockwell Christmas ornament for that year. Well, actually there are only 42 of those ornaments. Time has taken its toll on them. But when I think of all the tough years of our marriage, there were a few more than one broken years. We are still married and things are a lot better. God is good.
It is the best tree of our time because it shows God’s grace. A good number of the ornaments are from the many wonderful places we have visited since recovery began. They are there because God has blessed us despite the sinful life I lived before recovery. Psalm 103:12 says “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” That is forgiveness.
These ornaments are also a tribute to my wife’s persistence. Just because the drinking stopped, it’s not like we were suddenly rolling in money. My wife is blessed with self -discipline. Through that gift, we were able to experience many places that I never thought I would ever see. And we brought back ornaments. And while there are ones from Malta, Hawaii and Paris, one of my favorites is the one with tiny paint rollers, hammers and other tools. That is to remind us of the vacations we traveled to our kid’s homes and spent time helping to fix up some rooms. That is a privilege – again God is good.
It is the best tree of our time because this year added 6 ornaments special only to me. They are reminders of the special blessings I have through my family. My wife, five children and their families have all shown me their love for the Savior in how they live out their lives. They all have so many special talents and are willing to use them in any way to let others know about Jesus. Thank you Lord.
And then there are two lamb ornaments that when I see them bring tears. They are for two grandchildren who got to meet their Savior before their parents. Chris Rice’s Untitled Hymn has become their song, “And with your final heartbeat kiss the world goodbye. And go in peace and laugh on Glory’s side. And fly to Jesus – and live.”
It is the best tree of our time, but not just because of all that I have shared so far. As wonderful as they are, if all I have at Christmas is family, vacations, recovery and memories then I have missed the reason for celebration. Deep in the tree is one more ornament – a small spike on a red ribbon hung against the trunk.
The spike and the tree remind me of the way Jesus was nailed to the cross. The red ribbon brings my thoughts to the blood he shed, so mine need not be. His death paid for my sins and those of all who believe. Jesus birth, the reason for the Christmas celebration, was the first step on road to the cross. “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21.
I pray you have a wonderful Christmas–but even more that you too know of the Savior.
Come back sometime, I will wait you!
One last Christmas song. Yes, the Wise men come a little early and Joseph looks a little young. I still like the song. Hope you enjoy.