After 10 years of Christmas Trees being forbidden, they were welcome in our house again. In 17-year-old enthusiasm I attacked the tree.
It would be gorgeous. And perfect. And totally awesome.
My 8-year-old sister agreed but dear me, did she ever have different ideas of gorgeous then I did!
For some reason, someone thought it was a good idea to give her a gigantic, flashy pink and yellow heart and my sister believed it to be an ornament for the tree no matter how many times I told her it wasn’t.
In a frantic pursuit of perfection I bossed everybody around and tried to limit the damage my 4 siblings aged 3 to 8 could do to a perfect Christmas tree. In the end I let them hang things wherever they wanted because they did anyway, and planned to redo the tree after they were in bed.
With a cup of tea and a critical eye I stood before the tree and rehung most of the things. I relegated the Pink-Heart-Ornament-Wannabe to the back of the tree and went to bed satisfied with a job well done.
The next morning I got up, later than my siblings because 17-year-olds appreciate the Thing known as Sleeping In, and 8-year-olds do not. I walked in the living room and there it was. Proudly flaunting its hideousness, it hung in all it’s pink glory at the very front of the tree for all to see.
Every day for the rest of that holiday season, I would hang the heart to the back of the tree and my sister put it back in it’s rightful place at the front every. single. time.
And every Christmas season until I got married and moved out, we did the same dance. I couldn’t understand why my mother didn’t just put the stupid thing in the back of the tree and keep it there. Until this very day, that pink heart hangs in their tree even though my now 18-year-old sister should know better.
But I digress.
I never got why my mother was so despicably unsupportive of my efforts to have the perfect tree.
Until this year.
I happen to have 3 boisterous little boys, and if you don’t know anything about boys then I will tell you one thing… 1, 4 and 5 year old boys are not gifted Christmas tree decorators, but they suffer under the illusion that they are. And so they hang the big balls on top and scatter things around with no regard for size and color. Now I like a chaotic tree and dislike color-themed trees, but this was like… the ornaments threw up on the tree. There is such a thing as taking things too far, you know.
As I sat on the couch after they were tucked away in bed, I sipped my tea and looked the tree over appreciatively.
And there it was.
One little person had stuck his Superman car in the tree, right under the star.
And that is when I discovered that all that hard pioneering work my little sister did all those years finally paid of. The Superman car stayed in the tree, just like the paper spaceship that appeared the next day.
The strangest thing? I don’t mind. I think it’s absolutely awesome that they hang a superman car and a spaceship in the tree. And I think our tree is perfectly gorgeous despite the fact that it is unbelievably messy.
Because it reminds me of the fact that God doesn’t want only the monochrome, color matching ornaments that the world nods to and approves of. The good-looking and talented ones with succes stories. The ones that happen to be the in-thing this year.
He wants the broken sled and the paper spaceship and the crooked star. The ball with peeling paint and the one that lavishly shakes of it’s glitter on all the other ornaments.
He wants us, and not just those of use the rest look up to.
He wants the obnoxiously loud, the socially awkward, the tall girl and the short one. He chooses the one who wants to gain more weight and the one who wants to lose it.
The one with the perfect hair, the guy who sings of key. The mom who bakes Christmas cookies with her children and the one who yelled at her son on the way out of the door to the Christmas service. The one who struggles with pride and the one who is trying to stop swearing and smoking.
And it isn’t like He’s ignorant of the hidden things and that’s why He tolerates us. He knows all of our stories, all our failures and successes and He chooses every last one of us on His tree in His living room and He smiles big and wide and welcoming.