An Ornament of Remembrance

1 Chronicals 16:15 “Remember that covenant forever, the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations…”

You know that ornament, the ice cream cone made out of an ornament ball, a sugar cone and some caulk. The one with your preschool picture glued to an angel body. 🙂

Gold glitter glue spells out Shaina ’92. An ornament ball, caulked on a sugar cone…it has survived almost 30 years of Christmases.  I remember receiving it as a gift at our 2nd grade Christmas party. It is the ugliest gold ornament ball…not a shiny gold, but that gold string. Remember those? My parents’ tree still has all of our childhood ornaments covering it. From our 1st Christmas ornaments to the ones we made in preschool, elementary and even keepsakes we received when we were older.

Each ornament hold a different story, a memory and like a tiny altar, it brings us back to seasons in our life where when we look back at them all, we see his hand in it all. At least that is what it is like for me. I’m sure that that is not the case for everyone. When I look at my parents’ tree I see my life, memories, God’s faithfulness. I see some hard times and the struggle of growing up, but I also see all the fun memories and I remember each Christmas putting up those ornaments. Every one, a moment in time, a reminder.

Each year since Noah passed we have bought him an ornament. Each year the girls get to pick an ornament for their brother and as we place those ornaments on the tree, we smile and remember that God hasn’t left us, He is with us and Noah is not lost or forgotten. We pause and thank the Lord, we sometimes laugh and even cry. The ornaments carry a weight to them, a special way to pause, remember and thank.

Our girls aren’t very old, but we have already accumulated a ton of sweet ornaments. In just 8 short years we have such a precious collection of memories. Ornaments from our pregnancy with Ava, her first Christmas, the Christmas we had Noah with us, when Ana was born, their baby caps/bracelets tucked in clear ornament balls with their birth date and name on them. We have preschool ornaments, Jingle Jam and others. Nick and I started with a 3 ft tree and some store bought ornaments, but it didn’t take long before those got retired and all the keepsakes came up. Putting the ornaments on the tree is by far the girls FAVORITE decorating duty. They LOVE it and we laugh, smile and giggle about those as much as the ones for Noah. We even have some ornaments that were Nick’s as a little boy and as well as some I was gifted from my Mimi, that we made as kids. Our trees are covered in tangible reminders of HIS PRESENCE.

Yes, we miss our son and wish he were here. Yes, I miss my Mimi and PawPaw, I miss some of the more simple times in my life, but each moment in time represented by an ornament gives me the pleasure of savoring, pausing and enjoying the memory of it all.

Perhaps the Christmas Tree isn’t just a reminder of the cross he died on, but the life He died for.

Yours. He died on the cross, in obedience to the Father, willingly and out of love for you.

There are many ways to be reminded of this, but there is a particular way ornaments do this. Like the promise to Abraham of stars in the sky, each ornament represents a promise kept. Even in death, in loss, in grief, in pain, in disappointment and failings, HE remains. Don’t see the ornaments on the tree as a reminder of the loss, but as a reminder of the abundance. Abundance is only possible and available through the redemption of Christ. Let each one remind you of how cherished you are, in and out of season. For this month, pause and remember. As we wait in this Advent season for the promise to come, we also get to live in the covenant promise today. Salvation is here.

close up photo of christmas tree with green baubles and dinosaur toy

So perhaps, the  Christmas tree isn’t just a pretty piece in our home.  For now (and for always) I will have a tree or more with all of our memories, our tiny altars to a life full of God’s abundance, even when life didn’t seem great and for sure when it does.

What ornament reminds you of memories of long ago? Which one reminds you of a hard time in  your life? Have you ever thought of your tree this way? It’s never too late to start #findingtheheart of Christmas. Take a picture of your favorite ornament and hashtag it #findingtheheartofchristmas I would love to see your tiny altars of remembrance and hear the story behind them!

Merry Christmas friends!

Shaina

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