I finished trimming our Christmas tree today. That's a tiresome task, lots of ups and downs, both physically and emotionally. Normally my family members don't jump at the chance to help trim the tree, but I don't really mind. I like taking my time and reflecting on what the ornaments mean.
Our tree is an artificial one, but the memories and love connected with it are so very real. Each ornament tells a story. My favorite ornament is the silver cross that is so detailed, it appears to be made out of wood with a silver coating. It reminds me why we celebrate Christmas--to honor the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. That ornament ALWAYS occupies a prime limb on the front of the tree. My second favorite ornament is the gold Christmas bells bearing the date "September 25, 1982" and my husband's and my name. That's the day I married my best friend.
I've bought an ornament every year for each of my boys since they were born. When they finally get a place of their own and want to set up their own Christmas tree, this can be a great start for them if they so choose. These ornaments probably won't mean nearly as much to them as they do to me, but that's okay. It was the love that went into choosing each individual ornament that really matters. The ornaments reflect their interests as young children, on through their school years, and now into adulthood. They range from homemade masterpieces each boy made as a preschooler, right through the shotgun shell ornament dictating their love for trap shooting. My three favorite ornaments for them depict the lifestyle they have come to love and they will always bear these roots, regardless of where they settle in life. Those three ornaments are a John Deere tractor, the aforementioned shotgun shell, and a cowboy riding a horse.
The boys spend countless hours when they are together enjoying the freedom we are privileged to have and that is the right to bear arms. They love shooting their shotguns. Their grandpa instilled in them at an early age the importance of being good stewards of the land and how to drive the big tractors. And they quickly accepted my love of horses and riding and they so look forward to riding their horses and engaging in brotherly conversation whenever they are reunited at home.
There are ornaments on our tree that are constant reminders of the tragedies that have occurred in our lives--everything from the 9-11 attacks on our beautiful nation to those special ornaments that revive the memories of a lost loved one--be it a relative, close friend, or former co-worker. Other ornaments force spontaneous outbursts of uncontrolled laughter as I recall the event or events that led to the purchase of that particular story-telling ornament.
Well, the tree's all lit up for another year. Some people express their talents through their Christmas trees by decorating them with beautiful bows or making them themed trees. Our tree looks pretty much the same every year. This year I forgot to string the shotgun shell rope around the tree, but that's okay. The shell ornaments carry the same message.