Terry and I don’t just hang ornaments on our Christmas tree, we hang memories. The slightly tarnished brass ornaments come from our first Christmas together, 1978 in Germany in the Army. Our real pine tree was about four feet too tall for our apartment, and I had to hack off part of the bottom and the top with a tiny hand saw. We decorated with the few ornaments we could afford, strung some popcorn, made construction paper chains, and loved it!
My brother hand painted and lettered Jason’s first ornament in 1981. (Brianne never let us forget that she didn’t have a “Baby’s first Christmas” till we had one made for her when she was a teenager!) And I’ll never forget the hours of Terry’s work that produced the beautiful cross stitched ornaments during the early days of pastorate in Weston, Ohio in 1986.
Then came all the photo ornaments, the pop stick reindeer, and the gold painted macaroni from the kids’ school years. Every year we added another memory, some that we purchased, some were gifts from family and friends.
We still hang one or two of the paper ornaments made out of the Christmas cards that Terry’s sister and her kids cut out and sent to us for our first Christmas as missionaries. It was 1992 and we were in language school in Costa Rica.
There are many others. Each brings a warm remembrance of the almost 36 years the Lord has given us together. My favorites are the several miniature nativity scenes. One is a hand painted pottery from Chile. Another is made of Spanish olive wood. Terry says she has no one favorite ornament, but every year she sits and studies the tree, moving one up a branch, another down or over until every inch of our tree is perfectly covered.
This year we put up our memory tree early. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Friday, Terry begins chemotherapy for breast cancer. We are looking for a special ornament to help us remember this journey.
As I look at the tree again, I can see a blue cross stitch ornament near the bottom on the right that says, “Happy Birthday Jesus”. Coming around just past the middle is a little old friend who’s been with us from the beginning, a little mouse in a tiny Santa’s hat tucked into a half a walnut shell and covered by a Christmas blanket. “Sleep in heavenly peace.”
Joyous Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas Friends. We pray that God blesses you with a special memory or two this Christmas season!