By Pastor David Neuen What are your Christmas tree stories? Different trees within different homes tell many tales. When I was a young kid, we would visit my grandmother and grandfather’s home in Memphis, TN. Mama Lee’s tree was always decorated intricately and ornately. I vaguely remember a white frosting on its artificial branches. And I also recall that you couldn’t be too rambunctious around it lest you damage the presentation. Early in our life together as a couple, Cindy and I received a tree that would have rivaled Charlie Brown’s tiny twig of a thing. We had to find the lightest and smallest ornaments otherwise it would topple over. While not celebrated for its fullness or size, it was a gift from a coworker at Cindy’s first full time job and that tree was huge in heart. And Sellersburg will be remembered as the home of the great tree fall. When the base went out and the decorated and lit tree came tumbling down, great was the sound of its collapse.
Consistent throughout our many trees has been our decorating style of hanging ornaments that tell stories. We have ceramic figures my grandmother painted forty years ago. We have glass globes with pictures of the various churches I have served. We hang with care those ornaments made by past friends or delightfully crafted by our children. A walk around the tree is a journey through memories that light the heart just as the incandescent lights illuminate the room. The ornaments remind us of the gift of relationship filled with beauty, kindness, and grace. Each time we place the ornaments on our Christmas tree, we do so with a smile, beaming at the thought of the person who made them, a gift to our life.
Christmas is the celebration of God’s grand story, the gift we remember and receive each year, the presence of God’s self in our world. Our tree has several ornaments that remind us of this story which makes all other stories possible. We give thanks for God’s courageous yes to enter the human family that we might more fully understand love within our own. This Christmas, God is being born again into our lives preparing the way for new relationships and new memories to emerge. The celebration of God born to us inspires hopefulness and eagerness to imagine what new plans will unfold, what new beauty will be revealed, and what new experiences will be cherished. With hope in Christ, we can only imagine the beautiful new ornament hung next year to celebrate God’s touch and care.
Hang an ornament. Remember. Give Thanks. Look for beauty. See the new being born. Christmas is coming!