That right there is exactly what it looks like. A sorry and sad, three-foot tall, fake Christmas tree with half of the lights blown out and only plastic bulbs for decoration. It has only been up for two days. It is beautiful.
Each morning, the babies run to the tree yelling, “Lights! Lights!” I sense a trip to buy more Christmas lights in my immediate future.
It’s not the tree of my childhood, and it’s not the tree of my dreams, and it falls far short of the warm, Christmas memories I hold dear, but it’s ours, and only ours, and I love it.
Take that, Charlie Brown.
Christmas is held up to be a time of peace, joy and happiness. In reality, it’s a time of stress, broken things and frustration, at least until the big pay off. But no matter how much cookie dough ends up in my carpets, no matter how many strings of lights I have to buy, no matter how many times I have to pick that piece of plastic up off the floor, unruffle its tendrils of fake green, and fluff it back up, no matter if those bulbs lose all of their tacky glitter to gluttonous toddler hands, this tree is a symbol.
It is the Christmas spirit. It will bend and break. It will lose what little polish it had. It will continue to stand proud, though, as I will continue to prop it back up. During the Christmas season, we would do well to remember that. The peace and joy that could be ours is in our own grasp. It is up to us to make Christmas or whatever holiday we celebrate this time of year special.
Our kids won’t remember the broken glass or the tantrums. They’ll remember the warmth of their parents carefully setting back up the spirit of Christmas after each new pitfall.
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