Colored lights draped over his muscular arms, while a whole heap of strands lay around the base of the tree. I glanced up from my spot on the floor at what looked like a dance to me. His strong hands were weaving lights along the branches. The sparkle in his eye reflected them. My Dad was in his element decorating our Christmas tree. My Mom helped keep strands untangled, stepping back now and again to behold the beauty. My siblings and I sat amongst boxes of homemade ornaments and keepsakes.
My parents helped us place our handmade ornaments on the branches. Treasures like the angel made of a toilet-paper roll, my brother ‘s picture cut out for its face, hung in the middle. There was Rudolph made from a clothespin with glued on eyes. And our imperfectly perfect cinnamon baked cookie ornaments.
A favorite memory, our tree was more than a Christmas tree. It was a family tree, limbs bearing hooks of childhood dreams and wonder in tangible form. A stump holding up our whole little world in which we were loved. My parents passed on a gift when they decorated their tree with our trinkets. It was the gift of our belonging, them adoring even the least we had to offer.
My son hung his own handmade ornament yesterday and grinned as it took its rightful place. I’m flooded with emotion to see an extension of his heart grafted in. Inevitably, I reflect upon the greater shoot that arose thousands of years ago from the stump of Jesse. I consider how nail-pierced hands bore the weight of the world on a tree so that we may belong. How it was purposed for us to be grafted in, reflecting the light of One who crafted us by hand. And I’m grateful.
Shelly Griffin is wife to Nate and Mama to their 2.5 year old son Asher. She loves encouraging women to know God for themselves through His Word and Spirit. She’s happy with a stack of books toppling over for editing and writing purposes and Christmas is her most favorite holiday! You can connect with her on Instagram.