How a Christmas Tree Tells a Story

A military mom cherishes all the ornaments on the family tree, a chronicle of her sons’ lives.

Posted in , Dec 7, 2017

Decorating the Christmas tree

It wasn’t too many years ago that I spent my first holiday season as a military mother without my oldest son safe at home. Instead, he was on his first deployment to the Middle East with temporary lodgings in a ply-board shack equipped with four bunks, a tiny Charlie-Brown-type tree and the animated Christmas movies we’d sent him from home.

The pictures he sent back to us broke my heart. 

Now he’s home, along with our other sons and numerous daughters-in-law, and it’s already been a joyous holiday time for our family. We’ve shared stories, memories and gathered around the table to offer thanks and break bread. 

But as always, when I decorate our tree, it’s joyful/sad experience. I think most mothers—military or not—can relate. Our tree is peppered with dated ornaments that commemorate each child’s birth and hung with many homemade additions reflecting their lives. We have golf balls, sneakers, baseballs, cartoon characters and an insignia of the Marine Corps. (Even the tough times of life need to be remembered.) 

I’m not dismayed by the handmade quality or randomness of many of them. Instead, I lovingly arrange these various ornaments on the evergreen boughs. And I’m overcome by the blessings of raising these boys and by the richness of our memories.

This year, I stopped to consider what ornaments from my life hang on my Heavenly Father’s tree. Not literally, of course, but metaphorically. I know He cherishes all the events in my life—the joyful and the difficult. He never despises my efforts nor forgets my tears. He rejoices at the high points and cradles me during the low ones. And I’m reassured by the fact that I’m never forgotten.

You Yourself have recorded my wanderings. Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your records? (Psalm 56:8, HCSB)

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