The other day I took down our Christmas Tree. There is something bittersweet about this activity for me every year. The season is so short, the tree that I so painstakingly decorated is now weathered, with branches drooping, falling needles, and decorations that don't look as bright. Taking down the tree is almost as much of a ritual as putting it up. I play old music, (I tease my wife about playing Christmas music backwards when taking down the tree), have the fireplace blazing, and have a hot cup of coffee.
The ornaments are the hardest to take down. They are like memories – the church ornament that reminded me of my dad who was a preacher at a little country church, the dated ornaments that we bought every year for the kids, and the shiny ornaments that adorned the tree every year. In ways, the tree is a metaphor for life, and the ornaments the memories that make life so full. Some are fragile, some whimsical, and some heartfelt.
As our lives wind to an end, what are our ornaments? Will the lights that make up our life shine on these ornaments to create a beautiful collage, or will our tree be barren? Will our ornaments adorn someones Christmas tree when we are gone, or will they be so paltry that they will be trashed?
So, as I take down the tree every year, I hope that in the years to come there will be new brightly colored ornaments to complement those precious ornaments of years gone by.