Monday, November 15, 2021

Thank the Lord for the Lady in Savannah

 

Our Christmas Tree is up.  Because of our schedules this year, we put it up a little early.  I wanted to have time to decorate it without the stress of having it finished at a certain time.  

Glen and I really enjoy decorating our tree because it is an opportunity to remember places we have been, things we have done and people we have known that might have been lost to us without the reminders on the tree.  Our tree contains memories of our almost forty-three years together.  Children's and grandchildren's handprints can be found hanging from the branches.  Pictures of all our family, including dogs, can be seen.  Concert tickets, Boston Red Sox baseball tickets, Magic bands from DisneyWorld,  logos from businesses in almost every city we have visited (most of these involve some very good food) can be found as well.  Approximately 1000 "ornaments" adorn the branches of our tree, some are "regular" ornaments, but the ones saved from the events of our lives are the ones most special to us. The older we get, the more these memories mean to us.  

You may wonder how are tree became such a mix of balls, candy canes and "stuff".  Here is the post telling that story:

Monday, December 1, 2008

Santas, concert tickets and the lady in Savannah...

I am sitting here snuggled up with our dog Sparrow, looking at our 28th Christmas tree.
 Although we have been married thirty years this year, we got married five days after 
Christmas, so that first year we didn't have a tree together. The year Marie was born, 
four days before Christmas, we didn't have a tree, either. So this year makes our 28th 
tree.

Our tree is very similar to most, I suppose. It has its share of Santas and holly wreaths 
and candy canes. But our tree is not just a Christmas tree, it is a Life tree. Let me explain 
what I mean by that.

When I was eighteen, I went to visit Savannah, Georgia right after Christmas. While I 
was there I attended several Open Houses -- where people open up their homes for 
celebrations. At one of these festive occasions I saw the most unusual Christmas tree I 
had ever seen. It was covered with movie tickets, theater tickets, trinkets and 
memorabilia of all types. The lady who lived in the house was in her eighties and as 
lively and full of spirit as anyone I had ever met and I asked her about her unusual tree.

 "It is a celebration of my life", she answered. She went on to tell me that at all 
occasions in her life she would take some sort of memento to place on her tree, some 
token of remembrance. Then each year when she would decorate her tree, "I re-live 
those special times in my life that would have otherwise slipped away."

Needless to say the lady and her tree made a great impression upon a young 
impressionable teenager. I determined that whenever I had a tree of my own, I wanted 
it to be something special, too. When Glen and I were engaged, I shared with him the 
story of the Savannah woman and the story seemed to touch a chord with him as well. 
So that first year we celebrated Christmas together, in that tiny, cold apartment, we 
determined that the ornaments on our tree would be ones that we had specifically 
picked out for our tree, not just to fill the branches, but because of their beauty or 
meaning or special significance to us. Or they would be ornaments we had made, or 
someone else had given us, or like the lady in Savannah, they would be mementos of 
the events of our lives. We wouldn't even have actually had a tree that year if my sister 
hadn't brought us one -- we thought our apartment was just too small for a tree. 
It was and it wasn't. Our first Christmas tree only had nine ornaments on it (some of 
which we still have today). They were given to us by my mother and her friend.

Our tree today has hundreds and hundreds of ornaments. I started to catalog and count
them one day and stopped somewhere after 600. Along with the snowflakes (some of 
which belonged to my mother) and the balls (most of which I put on my trees growing 
up as a girl), there are "Savannah" ornaments: the doves and butterflies off our 
wedding cake; the golden bells off my parent's 50th anniversary cake; concert tickets; 
Metro tickets from Washington, DC; a baby's pacifier; my girls' little black patent 
leather baby shoes; a hickory nut I picked up at my brother's house one day when we 
spent the day with his family; candles from a 40th birthday cake; and from a 50th 
birthday cake; HighSchool Band Security Tags; Election buttons - both from elections 
won and lost; footprint buttons from babies born; favors from weddings; silk flowers 
from a baby shower; silk flowers from a wedding bouquet; dough ornaments older than
my marriage, given to me by a friend in college; I could go on and on. Like the lady in 
Savannah, when I decorate the tree, I have the joy of reliving memories, of 
remembering people and events. Our tree is an expression of our lives, a creation that 
continues to grow each year, because each year there is something new to add to the 
tree.

Thirty-three years ago, that lady in Savannah gave me a great gift. She shared with me 
a small moment of her time and herself and that small seed that life can be something 
that is worth re-living blossomed in me into something that has affected me and my 
family. We love our tree and the special ornaments and mementos that hang from its 
branches and we love the remembering what the tree brings to mind.

Today there is someone in each of our lives waiting for us to share with them some
great gift that the Lord has given us. Something that will be a seed that will blossom in 
them to something great and beautiful. Perhaps it is just a kind word, or a thoughtful 
look or an act of encouragement along the way. The world is full of hearts just waiting 
for those seeds.

Hear; for I will speak of excellent things;
and the opening of my lips shall be right things. 
Proverbs 8:6


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