Every year in our home we have two Christmas trees.
Melanie’s tree is always beautifully done and is the first tree to go up and she usually decorates it in the first week of December. I grew up in a household where the tree did not go up until a few days before Christmas, sometimes not until Christmas eve, so the family tree usually does not go up until much closer to Christmas, given that it is mostly my project. I do the lights, and many of the ornaments. Brett and Allie also do a few of the ornaments, and Mel puts her finishing touches on the tree by putting on the garland or tinsel or beads, depending on the year.
Our family tree is comprised of old fashioned colored lights and a collection of ornaments that span our 30 years of marriage as well as some from Melanie’s childhood.
I like to consider each ornament and think about the time of our life each it represents.
Some of the ornaments bring back memories of years of struggle and challenge and others bring smiles and happy tears to my face.
All families have their share of struggles and smiles. Laughter and tears.
Other ornaments show the different phases of our life, especially of the children’s path through growing up.
What strikes me the most was that I don’t relive the struggles.
We’ve had some tough years through our life and we’ve had some years that felt much easier.
But I felt fondness for the years of struggle. I don’t feel the low parts as I reflect, instead I feel the love of a family.
There is a lesson in that. Even in times of difficulty we tend to take the good parts forward in our hearts. In many cases some of our best times in life are those times that feel the hardest when we are in them.
I believe this is because the true essence of life is our relationships and the love we share with each other.
While this is tested in difficulty, it is also solidified and magnified through it too.
During the Christmas season so many of us are going a million miles an hour trying to get everything done.
We need to do the opposite. We do this all year already. Why make this season like that? We need to step back. Slow down.
We need to take the time and enjoy the experience of being with the people we love. We need to cherish and appreciate how blessed we are for all that our life is.
As I hung the ornament you see in the picture, I realized that many years I just hung the ornaments as fast I could so I could get onto the next year.
I have hung this ornament 30 times now.
I have had 30 years with a beautiful woman, inside and out, who loves me completely for who I am, not what I do or what I have.
She loves me in spite of my quirks and warts. What a blessed man I am, yet how often do I go through days, weeks, months, without thinking about this?
Just taking it for granted?
I spend a large part of my life teaching and sharing the importance of relationships. I am incredibly aware of their importance in our lives. Yet, it is clear to me that I still don’t always simply appreciate the value day to day. And I know that I am not alone in this.
The greatest Christmas gifts we could all receive, we already have. The love of people we care about. Take time this year and BE with the people you love. It’s all that really matters anyway.
The presents will get wrapped. The dinner will get cooked. The house will get cleaned. But more importantly, make sure your love gets shared. It’s the best gift you can give.
I wish you a wonderful Holiday Season.
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