It’s January 7, and our Christmas tree is still up.
It’s not artificial; it’s very real. Was once very alive. We’ve had it since November 23–it’s been in our family room for over six weeks.
The tree has lost very few needles. It’s quite green, with a wonderful fresh aroma that still fills the room.
I don’t want to get rid of it.
It has stood sentinel over our holiday gatherings. It’s been the quiet observer in the corner as presents were unwrapped and babies tried to pull ornaments from its very gracious branches.
And it has been my companion late at night and early in the mornings when I sit alone, reading, writing, praying, thinking. I’ve left the lights on more than I’ve left them off, and I’ve come to appreciate their gentle glow in the background.
John has been patient with me. He put “Christmas” away a week ago and quietly left a bin in the family room to hold our ornaments. A gentle nudge to get the job done.
I moved the bin.
There’s been so much going on with this new year. Some things are really great; others are hard.
The tree has stood there, like a friend.
It hasn’t been faithful to stand throughout the past month and a half. It fell while I was away, breaking some of my favorite ornaments. It’s quite large and even now tips to one side. John put it back up, redecorating even though he’d have been happy leaving the whole thing down.
He loves me that well.
I’ll take the tree down. Eventually. It is, after all, a dead tree. Hanging on to whatever time is left. It won’t drink any more water so it won’t last much longer. It will dry out sooner rather than later. It will be tossed to the curb for pick-up and will be a memory.
I have many things in my life that I struggle to release. People. Circumstances. Things. Special parts of life that have mattered, for one reason or another.
Nothing and nobody will last forever. Not this side of heaven.
I lost my mom and several friends this past year. Death happens to all of us. I’ve had disappointments and the loss of a few dreams lately that meant something to me.
Life won’t end with losses. They’re very much a part of life.
It’s learning to live in light of loss. Recognizing that there are some things in my life I can’t lose.
Like my relationship with Jesus.
He’s with me in all things. The good and the bad; the things that work and those that don’t. He’s the Sentinel that stands by me, even if I can’t see Him. The One who is with me, even in the crowds of loneliness. The One who hears my voice whenever I call.
Nobody else has that kind of staying power. Nothing else can satisfy what I really need.
I guess I can let my Christmas tree go.