Wall and bookshelves show in the wide gaping spaces between its spindly arms. Homemade ornaments bob when we pass by, a mere breeze causing whole branches to shake.
The golden star perching aloft bows toward the ground, its weight just too much for a tender stem to bear.
This is our Christmas tree, and it's much like all the trees we've brought into our home since moving out to the Texas countryside.
My husband and I are New Englanders, people who grew up with lush firs and pines. People used to snow at Christmas.
Our children are Texans. On our homestead there are two Christmas tree candidates. Tall loblolly pines, precious trees we'd never cut, especially now that fire has ripped life from so many of them. And eastern red cedars, about the closest thing you can find to a weed tree. So each year the kids and my husband hunt the fields for a cedar tree that is small enough to fit in the house. And each year they drag in a spindly wonder.
I love our bedraggled tree. The ornaments that cover it each bring a memory. Kids can't reach everywhere, and I don't worry about the thick clumps of ornaments or the bare places. The lights are strung haphazardly... our arms resisting the scratch of the needles, we throw them hither and thither.
I love our tree because it as far from perfect as I am.
It fits, in this house all stuffed with books and yarn and papers and half drunk cups of tea. It sparkles like the eyes of my children. There's no pretending of perfection, no symmetry to provide an unrealistic counterpoint to our haphazard journey through this life.
When the windows are dark and the lights low, the tree twinkles a cheery goodnight. When I rise long before dawn, the tree glimmers as I wrap in a blanket on the couch and settle the Word on my lap.
All those little lights... little disorganized lights on a threadbare tree... they still shine.
You are the light of the world... let your light shine...
Matthew 5:14, 16
Merry Christmas friends. This word girl hasn't the words to express the deep joy I have known in writing here and elsewhere, in meeting so many of you both online and in person, and in experiencing the fellowship of sisters... daughters of the One True King. You are one of God's tender gifts to me.
I finish 2012 with a deep sense of fulfillment and God's provision. I am so grateful.
Thank you for shining bright and beautiful in my life.