When it's a hodgepodge


Our Christmas tree will never show up on the front cover of a home décor magazine. It will not be featured in anyone’s Instagram stories.

It is covered with a crazy array of ornaments. They commemorate baby’s first Christmas and my first book. There’s a poodle in a stocking and a bear playing soccer. A Georgia football helmet hangs alongside an Oglethorpe University boar’s head ball ornament. A riverboat from New Orleans, a pair of mittens from Asbury Grove, Massachusetts, and a set of wooden nametags turned ornaments from a camp high in the Montana mountains document a few of our travels. Construction paper angels with faces that look amazingly like the kids who grew up here are a little shopworn but still loved. Crocheted angels and snowflakes made for us by two beloved friends scatter among bells and balls and a bulldog. An ornament from my childhood and a nativity from when Jerry and I first married still grace the tree every year.

It would be impossible to reproduce our tree, but I doubt anyone would want to. A couple of limbs are listing toward the floor because we discovered Wilbur has been climbing it when we’re not around and as the picture shows, at least once when we were.

Our tree is uniquely ours, and  I see a lifetime of memories when I look at it. The sweetness of each of these ornaments outweighs my desire to make it conform to anyone else’s idea of beauty.

My tree is a reminder that each of us is a  kind of a hodgepodge, too. And when God sees us, he sees something beautiful and treasured. He doesn’t want us to be like anyone else but just who we are, who he created us to be. We may be a little shopworn ourselves and like the Velveteen Rabbit, our stuffing may be leaking out a bit, but we cannot be duplicated. We are His and we are loved and adored.

You may have your own tree of family ornaments, let it be a reminder this season of how dear you are to the Lord.

I’m off now to check the tree for Wilbur damage—ornaments fall like leaves during the night.

“But when the time arrived that was set by God the Father, God sent his Son, born among us of a woman, born under the conditions of the law so that he might redeem those of us who have been kidnapped by the law. Thus, we have been set free to experience our rightful heritage. You can tell for sure that you are now fully adopted as his children because God sent the Spirit of his Son into our lives crying out, “Papa! Father!” (Galatians 4:4-7).


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