This month on the Journey Onward blog I am doing a story-telling 25 days of Christmas based on various ornaments on our tree.
Today’s ornament is one our Rachel made from her Sesame Street magazine many Christmas’s ago. The December magazine had some picture squares to cut out and make ornaments.
I handed her some scissors, glue and whatever construction paper we had in the drawer and the result is a magazine picture of a menorah glued to brown paper with a hole punched slightly off-center for hanging on the tree. To add to the humble nature of this treasure, I must have provided her with some yarn to make a hanger for it.
As simple as this ornament may seem, it holds a volume of thoughts and memories and stories.
When I hang this ornament each year, I am taken back to our little girl working on cutting out these squares and fitting them to a background paper. I see her tongue sticking out as she cut and I smile because two of her offspring work with this same kind of concentration. She was quite proud of her work and so the ornaments were hung and continue to be hung year after year.
The uneven cutting, the inclusion of the actual dotted lines marking where the scissor should have snipped, the globby glue marks under the surface…all of these challenged the perfectionist in me. They remind me of how in things like neatness of projects and choices in clothing and how we kept our rooms (or more accurately didn’t keep our rooms) stretched me as I fought back the part of me that wanted to exert control and gave me strength to let our children be who they were made to be.
To give each child room to be themselves sometimes meant things weren’t the way I wanted them to be. Okay…often…but the space we gave them opened up wide places in our hearts and helped us grow up as we raised them.
While Rachel was quite young when she made this ornament, a few years down the road and a few houses around the corner, we would find her best friend for a number of years and a friendship that continues through social media. Taryn and her family are Jewish and so Rachel would be invited to share some of the Hanukah festivities. In return Taryn helped decorate the tree and iced sugar cookies and we exchanged gifts for our respective holidays. We learned about each other’s faith in mutual love and respect.
Over the years, I have learned more about how we are grafted into Taryn’s faith through the blood of Jesus Christ.We have been adopted into this family that God calls Israel. The Old and the New Testament are the same story woven with the promise and the fulfillment that God will live among us and we will be His people.
Now also, the ornament continues to remind me of Taryn as she works on the front lines of a pandemic in a large city on the East Coast. I say a pray for her as she faces some of the hardest parts of the turmoil and consequences of decisions made during these “unprecedented times.”
So this unassuming ornament holds a rich assortment of thoughts and prayers and memories.
How is your tree speaking a story this year?
If it is perfect and beautiful and worthy of a magazine itself; then this is a gift of beauty you have made and your talents are expressed on each branch. If it holds ornaments that are unashamedly sporting glue and a bit too much glitter, than celebrate the little hands who made this for you.
I would love to look at each of your trees and oooh and aahhhhh and here your stories, too.
God bless you my friends.