The Memory Tree

I used to think that taking down the Christmas tree was just a lot of work and I tried to get other unwilling family members to do it.  But this year I learned to enjoy it and even treasure the time that it too.

The kids left the day after Christmas and after such a short and sweet time I wasn’t ready to take the tree down.  It made the living room look so warm and inviting and gave me a chance to reminisce with each glance.  So it stayed up for a while.

Then, when I noticed I was forgetting to plug it in, I decided to take it down myself.  So I began removing ornaments and putting them in piles for each child, as some should have their own trees in their own homes next Christmas. Our tradition has been, that we give an ornament each year that represents something from that year of the child’s life:

an interest,

Sports Ornaments!

a milestone,

Kaitie moved into her first apartment this year!

a cute remark,

"I love to look out my window at the moon and the stars."

or a pet–real or imaginary!

Mike's dog collection--separate from my pug collection!

The complaint is that Erick always gets the best ornaments (he did everything first) and that I (as the buyer) seem to lose perspective of what represents a year.  But as I carefully took the ornaments off the tree I enjoyed a sweet reminder of our family life.

Each child has a Baby’s First Christmas Ornament–I think the baby born in the fall had the most of them!

Erick '83, Mike '87, Kate '91

I’m pretty sure I mentioned that Christmas trees shouldrepresent Christ and so–

Nativity Ornaments

We have some ornaments from early in our marriage next to the most current!

The 2011 Ornament and a 1985 Ornament-a bigger family and Navy Chaplain School

A few ornaments remind us of things we might not want to remember.

But Santa, I can explain----

Sometimes our ornaments reflected victories, teams we love

The Phillies--World Series Champs 2008!

or the more personal kind.

Mike wins the in-house Fantasy Football Championship!

A number of ornaments remind us of places we lived and friends we shared our holidays with over the years.

Charleston 1990~Friends!

And then they are all packed away, wrapped in tissue, inside a bin, deep in the garage, so we can remember again next year,  the room looks empty.  I enjoyed this job, I might not share it in the future.

See you next year!

As I thought through the ornaments and the memories, I was reminded of the how faithful God has been to us for so many years. With children and job changes and no jobs and deaths and new life– He has been faithful and our tree is a testament to His love and care for us.  Maybe I’ll keep a few ornaments out to remember!

 On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 63: 6.7

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About rickandjan

We are missionaries serving as the SE Region Director of Operations with Cru Military. Rick handles the operations and Jan tries to keep up with the communications.
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One Response to The Memory Tree

  1. Kathryn Cleveland says:

    Oh…. this is so wonderful. You have created a heritage of love and memories. I took Methuselah, the upright racoon, to my sister’s and put him on her Christmas tree for my kids. All because, you shared a book and a life with us. Love you, k

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