This morning I woke up and thought…”UGH…TODAY is THE day…the one that I dread and often pray an angel (or REALLY great friend) would show up to handle for me. It’s the “Take Christmas Down… and Stuff It Back In The Boxes” Day.
Usually this happens before January 11th – but this year we celebrated Christmas in January (due to those silly adult children of ours that now have a life outside of our immediate family). Hey – I’m JUST SAYIN! (and making myself feel better that I have a “reason” this hasn’t happened before NOW!)
So – they have all left for their homes, our college freshman has arrived back at her adorably decorated dorm and now “mom” (with some help from “dad”) is here with all the stuff that once looked beautiful/festive but this morning just looks like “work” and a reminder that I’m WAY late in getting this done.
As I walked through the house and tried to wrap my head around the hours before me, I took a minute to look at my favorite tree in our house, our “Thank You Jesus” tree.
Years ago, (24 years to be exact), we started with a tiny little tree and an idea to have Brittney (then 2 years old) “write” something that she was thankful for on a tiny card and attach it to a 2 & ½ foot “tree”. I have NO idea where this idea came from…only that I KNOW it was truly God inspired as it has served as the focus for our family since that very first year.
This year I “threw it out there” that maybe we should do the tree differently (I was thinking that because the kids didn’t live here/close – that maybe we would have visiting friends sign cards instead, etc.). ALL of the kids (even the two sons-in-law) seemed rather “offended” at the thought and immediately came up with the idea to have me send them cards and they would mail them back to be added to the tree! Did this mom’s heart good to have them want to continue the tradition….priceless to me!
After 24 years, the tree has grown to a 7 & ½ ft tree that now ends up COVERED with notes…all 7 of us participate/write cards…and I can’t WAIT to include our grandson (now just 7 weeks old) in the process in the years ahead!
While some of the cards are very serious (and always respectful/honoring)…they have changed DRAMATICALLY over the years. In the beginning, the cards had little drawings of people (because they couldn’t write words yet) or scribbled writings of words like “my pooh bear slippers”, “my bike”, “Grandma who made my doll a new dress” and many, many cards with “mommy” and “daddy” mentioned (and yes – I have EVERY card still…in baggies, labeled with the year!). As they girls got older, they wrote about friends, teachers, specific experiences they had had, and- of course – every boyfriend. J Now, they are often filled with deeper thoughts, often contain many words/a paragraph (Breanna!)…and sometimes are written on – front and back! Basically, the cards are like a diary of every year…for the last 24!
So – before I began the process of “Take Down Christmas” – I grabbed a cup of tea and read each and every card on the tree…something that I hadn’t taken the time to do before this morning. It was JOY to read…some funny, many “random”, but most showed the heart of each one who wrote. I’m thankful for the many that mentioned others in our family – sisters mentioning each other, mentions of the many in-laws represented now, grandparents, grand-dogs, and of course – our newest addition…
There are mentions of different friends….and people in their lives that have made an impact on them…
Random stuff that I don’t fully understand???…
And basically – some super cool stuff like this –
And then, this….which, makes me laugh as I remember Breanna calling Brittney (who was sitting in our living room at the time) and saying, “Man – things sure have changed with what I want to thank Jesus for on the Jesus tree…”
And then Tom and I added a little something around it… 🙂
So- I’m still feeling a little “ugh” over putting the décor away…but I’m grateful for this last morning of thinking over the past year and all the many things (yes…sex included) that I’m thankful for. Top of my list is Jesus…without Him – there would be no point. Second would be the precious ones that, again, filled this tree with sweet love notes to Jesus (and not only because they still ALWAYS mention “mom” and “dad”!) J
Praying I remain thankful to THE One worthy of all praise and thanks…every day of the year! Gratitude is a key word for me this year…just sayin.