Thursday, December 1, 2011


Our table with a lot of ornaments laid out for strategic tree placement.

We spent over an hour looking for the right one.  We went in one store, out, and then in another, down the block, and up the block, to an ever ending chain of stores.  Almost all of the stores had the same products, with slight variation, so to my ‘man eyes’ we were wasting some time. However, to Denise’s ‘woman eyes’ there was the perfect item yet to be found.  I have to admit, that by the end of the hour I was ready to leave the hobby and stop being a collector.  Do you collect anything?  I have had friends that collected cereal toys, you know, the little cheap toys that used to come in cereal boxes.  He had over 1,000 unopened cereal toys and to be honest, it was kind of fun looking at them and remembering wanting that particular toy.  Another friend collected shot glasses.  He did not even drink, but he had this really cool display case of shot glasses.  Everywhere he went, on business or pleasure, he bought a shot glass.
We collect Christmas ornaments.  Although I voiced a little guy frustration at the process in the above paragraph, I really love the finished product.  For over 27 years Denise and I have collected ornaments.  Every vacation spot demands an ornament.  If we can’t find one, we buy a key chain that can function as one.  Every year, we have a family ornament made.  Each kid gets a special ornament with their name and the year written or engraved on it.  These ornaments have become such a treasure to us that when we sold everything and moved to the mission field, these were one of the only things we kept.  We took precious suitcase room and packed two bags full of bubble wrapped memories to take to Bolivia. We kept our Wedding China, a few antique quilts dating from the civil war, and our ornaments.  We took our ornaments with us. 
When we decorate the tree, it is a walk down memory lane.  There is the ‘Our First Christmas” ornament that is 27 years old.  We have had the privilege of visiting other countries, and each one has its place on the tree.  As we put up our tree, we are verbally, and then silently, going over our lives together.  Each child has their first ornament.  There is the year we all made gingerbread ornaments, and they are still here after 19 years!  Moment of honest, the coolness wears off on the kids after about 20 minutes, but for me and Denise, we take one sentimental journey after another. 
I actually think that I could extrapolate a biblical principle of remembrance and ssstttrrreeeetttccchhh it to fit what we are doing.  We are marking our lives together.  We are establishing memorials for significant events, the events that shape us.  It is not just fun, more than cool, it is life.  Do you have anything that you do that marks the moments that mold us?  If not, I highly recommend that you do.  It is so much fun to take at least two times a year, putting them up and taking them down, to remember our lives.