No ornaments. This year there were no ornaments on our Christmas tree, except the 6 ornaments we received as presents eventually we did hang on the tree. This summer as we were packing up for a cross country move, I gave away 4 artificial trees- 2 little ones, 2 big ones (3 inherited ones, 1 that we bought). As December rolled around, I was wondering why in the world I gave away ALL our trees. In early December whenever I was in a store, I would glance at the trees, but really just felt overwhelmed trying to decide what to buy and trying to think about where I would eventually store this tree in my basement-less house. A new friend suggested we buy a real tree for this Christmas and then buy an artificial tree on after-Christmas sales. We liked that plan. Since we had put up an artificial tree in the recent years, our youngest son, never having had a real tree, excitedly anticipated this tree. On a very sunny warmish delightful December 15th, we trekked to a Christmas tree farm. "We hope you are looking for a small tree because that's all we have left," the tree farm worker warned us. On December 15th, we just wanted a tree-any tree! The skinny trunk was easy to cut. The light weight tree was easy to carry into the house. The small tree was easy to set up. We dubbed our tree "our Charlie Brown Christmas tree". And we loved it! Covered in multi-colored lights, it was beautiful in our eyes, and the fresh evergreen aroma filled our new home.We decided to wait for "the boys" to arrive home to decorate the tree with ornaments. Our tradition has been all of us working together to put up the tree-usually the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend- and each boy would hang his special ornaments-ones we bought each year to commemorate a highlight of that year. This year the boys arrived on a staggered schedule. One of few days before Christmas; one on Christmas Eve day, and one, with his wonderful wife, a few days after Christmas. The time with the boys (& girls) home quickly filled-worshiping with special church services, visiting with extended family, exploring throughout our new city, etc. And so there never was really a good time to put up the ornaments. But our ornament-less Charlie Brown Christmas tree lighted up our house and filled it with a delightful scent. (In fact after we got the Christmas tree our newly acquired house stopped smelling like "their house" and began to smell like "our house"!) Every time I walked by our special little tree, I thought about Christmas. I was challenged to think about what Christmas really is about-the coming of our Savior as a baby...Emmanuel-"God with us".
Christmas came and went, even without ornaments. And it was truly a special December for us. Now in January, I am reaping the benefit of EASY Christmas tear down and put away. But the message of Christmas is NOT put away. The message changes our hearts every day. "Do not be afraid...good news...for ALL (this means you) people...a Savior, Christ the Lord." Luke 2:10 With or without the ornaments!