House & Home – The Two sided Christmas Tree

I have this thing, this THING for short fat Christmas trees.

It’s a combination of my love for their shape and because I know what my house needs in a tree (and well, maybe I do like them fat and full round the bottom because, well, I can relate!)  We live in a two-bedroom apartment, standard 9-foot speckled ceilings, decorated with love and care for its limited space.  I am happy to have to have less in a world that is always seeking to make you believe you need more.

And sure enough, our short, fat tree looks tall and full in our home.  With lights and glass globes and trinkets hanging beautifully from her limbs, a red burlap skirt surrounding the bottom and a large red and white gingham ribbon bow tied with many loops at the top.

So much of my “taste” or my “style statements” are just sentiments.  In this case, the fact that I did not want to make a huge deal about (or spend much on) finding a tree-topper or skirt, but that I did want to make it special and taken care of for my John.  Last Christmas was our first Christmas being married, with a tight budget and next to no collected Christmas decorations between us.  While my mom’s friend from work made the topper (with matching ribbon-loops to carry throughout the tree), my mom found and purchased the matching Christmas-red burlap to drape as the skirt.  They did it as a surprise and all of a sudden, that was crossed off of my list.  And i loved it!  I will almost always choose a story and a sentiment – others’ care for us – over a perception or opinion of beauty, perfection, or desirability.  That is a precious way to decorate a home, and our house is largely built on them.  Stories, sentiments, even if they are not worth much in the eyes of others.

I look at the tree and I see crocheted snowflakes from my late grandmother, about 7 or 8 of them hanging from the branches, which were given to me by my mother.  And I see my mother’s own gifts, globes that were selected just for John and I, with music notes, piano keys, my college mascot, or even our names carefully Sharpied in along with our wedding date.  Throw in some classic childhood wonders (the set of porcelain baby shoes with the year I was born, a tin can lid hammered in to make the shape of a bear (?), or Michael Jordan himself) and we have our beautiful, precious, room-for-us-as-we-grow Christmas tree.

tiny me

take a long sip of hot tea.

pause….

and swallow,  closing eyes.

respite for the heart can take many forms.

this morning it is a polka-dotted pencil skirt, acceptance of things i can’t do anything about, and vanilla rooibos.

prayer sometimes looks passive.  to the foolish it looks like laying down your arms and heading straight out of the battle in fear, cowering in the caves to “pray.”

this is how heaven sees prayer:  tiny david taking the stone and sling in confidence.  that investment in the smallest cool stone matched with surrender and full knowledge of Father’s power SLAYS THE MOST FEARED ENEMIES.

it is the tiny boy saying in response to the hungry thousands, “Well, I have this lunch my mom packed me.  Jesus, you can take my lunch!”  huffs and sarcastic chuckles may have come from those few who witnessed the very normal-looking transaction and did not know the potential of small things surrendered and matched with Jesus’ power.

do not fear seeming normal.  do not fear seeming small and even insignificant to this world.  Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

it is our great privilege and our great sword to take our tiny things and offer them in prayer.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven!