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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Day 21: O Christmas Tree

Oh, the Christmas tree.  A mixed tradition for me.  I love a beautiful tree but I am not the greatest at making a tree look fabulous.  We have a fake tree because neither one of us want to work at keeping a real one alive plus Tanner likes to chew on the branches of a real tree so our artificial one will do.  And, the tree sometimes reminds me of my childless state.  The tree is something the whole family should do together, right?  Isn't that the fantasy of Christmas?  Everyone grabs a hot drink and gushes over the memories that every ornament that is pulled from the box ignites.  Bah Humbug.  Doug will set up the tree and put on the lights but that's about it.  He is not nostalgic about the decorations and truth be told, we don't have many ornaments that are dear to us.  So, sometimes I don't even set the tree up. Our house is decorated and we have big trees that we keep white lights on year round so what's the big deal?  But this year with our sister and brother-in-law coming, well, we decided to put it up.  And while I was less than excited about getting it decorated with my less than exciting ornaments, a surprisingly wonderful thing happened whilst I was at my task.  I found an old collection of ornaments that I had had since college, a collection of Eskimos!  I had spent the summer of 1980 in Unalakleet, Alaska and the following Christmas got this ornament...from a couple of people!  Lo and behold for the next decade Hallmark, the company that made the ornament, ran a special Eskimo ornament every year and one of my parent's friends made sure that I got it...every year.  I have kept them all these years and sometimes I put them up, other times not.  But this year they were even made special because of the amazing video I saw on youtube of the kids in a small village in Alaska who made this amazing video of the Hallelujah Chorus.  If you have not seen it, click THIS LINK and watch it NOW.  Your heart will sing and your spirit will soar...which is the extraordinary thing that happened whilst I was puttering about our extra ordinary tree.  While I dug out these ornaments that are very old now, my heart was warmed.  And I realized that even without kids, I do have a treasure trove of memories that surround me, at Christmas and beyond.  To top it all off, I found this miniature authentic Alaskan Mukluk, the boots that are worn by the Eskimo people.  It was given to me by a woman from Unalakleet who was here in Sweden several years ago and celebrated Christmas with Immanuel.  It's a small world after all.  I lived on the shore of the Bering Sea for a summer a long, long time ago and I now make my home in a beautiful city on the shores of the Baltic Sea, and in between I have forged friendships that span the globe and seen worlds that I thought I would only read about.  And who would've thought that it could be an Eskimo who would comfort my heart today and bring joy to a task that is often laced with the pain of loss?  God still surprises me and I'm glad.