“Do we have to put them all up this year?,” my husband grumbles as he shuffles down a few trees and a dozen freezing cold boxes from the attic.
“Yes, all of them!,” I assert, with some insistence. “In the Graff house we are no respecter of ornaments. It’s a matter of principle.”
Everyone is welcome under our big tent, or big tree, rather. The one wing dismembered Styrofoam meat tray glittered angel hangs next to the carved Kenyan animals. The lifesaver body doll from third grade sidles up to engraved carousel one of my students gave me. The gaudy beaded Saks Fifth Avenue ornaments my grandmother bought shares a branch with the one legged C-3PO.
Yep, I check my artist aesthetic sense at the door in December. No matter their state, or garishness, they have a place on the tree (even if it’s at the back). Any of these characters, when viewed in the harsh fluorescent light of day would quickly earn a one way ticket to the landfill, but when the Christmas music is playing and they are bathed in the festive glow of the twinkling lights they receive mercy.
I love ornaments in all their sentimentality. Accumulations of life’s small moments. The glittery wonders, the masterpieces of my once young fumbling grade school fingers hang alongside my children’s. The old guard, heirloom ornaments, war torn soldiers scarred by decades of ornament duty, tell of eras past. The unusual and sometimes tacky figures recall at their annual hanging trips, acquaintances, associations not oft remembered. Still it’s more than that.
The Savior looks upon us with compassionate eyes, he see us in a gentle light. He knows our efforts and loves us even in our short-falling attempts. He knows our worth even in our imperfect, battered state. He does ask for haughty beauty he asks for earnest humbleness. He takes us broken and restores us whole.
So I hang them, hundreds of tiny tokens tucked amid the lights and branches. Reminding me of the Savior’s gentle ways. Teaching of the treasure to be found in still imperfect souls.
What parts of the Christmas ritual have deeper meanings for you? What are some of the favorite treasures you hang on your tree?