Once Thanksgiving has come and gone, I’m ready for the Christmas tree.
I’m ready to decorate.
I’m ready to touch the ornaments one by one and place them on the tree.
I’m ready to see the lights glimmer.
I’m ready to hang the stockings.
I’m ready to place the presents under the tree.
I do love Advent and savoring the Advent season, counting down to Christmas, but my experience of Advent includes Christmas decorations!
I love sitting by the Christmas tree under the lights. I love the darkness of December. The coolness in the air. The hope for snow. The smell of hot chocolate.
Each year I look at the Christmas tree and see the memories of Christmas’ past. I remember the songs sung around the tree. I remember the hugs shared. I remember the gifts given. I remember the awe in our children’s eyes. I remember my own awe during the Christmas season.
Once I moved out on my own, my mom packed some of her favorite Christmas ornaments and passed them along to me. They were mine, now, to continue the tradition of celebrating and savoring the season. They were mine to connect with memories of my childhood and Christmas stories from before I was born. In the box of ornaments she left a note for me sharing where some of the ornaments came from and where and when she purchased them. Each year I put the ornaments on the tree and am connected to family. And now my daughter and son get to experience that same connection.
I love the Christmas tree. But it’s never just a tree.
It’s love of family and friends.
It’s light for the dark nights.
It’s memories and stories.
It’s strength from the past.
It’s dreams for the future.
It’s a shining star pointing the way to hope.
Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of two, and spouse of an ELCA pastor. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, MO. Her website is http://www.kimberlyknowlezeller.com
Photo by Kimberlly Knowle-Zeller