Grown Up Into Christmas

Our Christmas Tree for 2012

It was our first Christmas in Monroe, and it came at the end of one devastatingly terrible year. We lost our son. Both mom and my stepdad had cancer. She survived, unfortunately he did not. We had moved away from our beloved friends of 16 years into a new ministry. And though we were very warmly received by the new congregation, it was a rough holiday season. Our new friend, LaRue Howard, sent us a Norfolk pine as a gift. I didn’t give it much chance of living, to tell you the truth.

Christmas is not the same season for us now that it used to be. Like most years, we will have no children in our home. There’s no reason to build up anticipation for Christmas Day – like there used to be. You know this, don’t you? Over the past few years we’ve had to grow up into Christmas again. It’s different, but there is still reason for joy. It carries sad memories, but there are also the ones that make us smile.  I expect that future Christmas times will retain that mixture of bittersweet feelings, but there is also the prospect of loving, serving, and sharing with others that brings a mature kind of contentment. It’s not necessarily easy, but it seems to be the path to which Jesus calls us.

So that’s why I’ve used the term, ‘grow up into Christmas’. Kind of like that tree that LaRue gave us. Somehow it has survived my gardening skills (very little). It’s been potted and left outside most of time (except in extreme cold – a rarity in North Louisiana). In stormy weather it’s been blown over. In drought conditions it has been thirsty. I guess it’s grown up into Christmas, too. That’s it in the picture above. Just a notch above Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree. But we gave away our artificial tree of many years last year after Christmas and I just didn’t want to buy another one. So I re-potted the Norfolk pine and it still puts on new growth.

It kind of reminds me of us. It has endured hazardous conditions and survived somehow. Dress it up a little bit and it might pass for what it one day hopes to be.

I’m not my own. I’ve been carried by You, all my life. Everything rides on hope now. Everything rides on faith somehow. When the world has broken me down, Your love sets me free. ~Addison Road

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