Holding Tightly; Releasing Eventually

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.

12 responses to “Holding Tightly; Releasing Eventually”

  1. Alice Fredricks Avatar
    Alice Fredricks

    Loved your blog today, Dayle. It spoke to me as I struggle with a disappointment. Jesus will never disappoint! What do people without Him do when life is hard? Thank you for the reminder today! Love you! Wish I were closer for a coffee date! ❤️


    1. Wish we could just hang out–I so miss having your wisdom and smile close at hand. Jesus doesn’t disappoint, but life in its messiness does all the time. Living with open hands is one of the hardest things we do. Thanks for your encouraging words, my friend!


  2. Thanks for continuing to write on your blog. This spoke to me about releasing “stuff” in our lives. There are some things that just need to be tosses. Thanks for that reminder.


    1. So much can afford to be tossed! If it doesn’t move me and loved ones forward, if it doesn’t draw me closer to the Lord, if it doesn’t encourage my heart, why keep it?


  3. You made me cry…sometimes I feel it’s all I do is release. I’m looking forward to when I can take hold…


    1. I really feel your frustration and pain. Life disappoints all the time–the death of a close one, even the death of a dream, the disappointments of living in a broken world with other broken people who deal with their own pain and disappointments. It’s why Jesus is the only feasible answer to what we go through in this life. I’m praying you have the courage and hope to take hold of Him.


  4. This was so good for my soul–its strange how our hearts hold on to something like a lit Christmas tree but it’s not really the tree is it? You said it so well.
    We once left our Christmas tree up until March when we returned from our Midyear conference. It was fake and much more depressing to pack up in March after returning to a cold climate after a stay at the beach.


    1. Here’s my reality–the older I get the harder it is to let go of things. I thought it would get easier, but memories–and disappointments–seem to hit harder. Weird. Thanks for your encouragement, Ali.


  5. Thanks Dayle! In light of loss it is encouraging to remember what we will never lose! Praying for you as you head I to wedding season. God bless!


    1. Thanks for your kind words, my friend. That you took the time to read my thoughts is amazing. I appreciate it–more than you know!


  6. Thank you for sharing this, especially how life doesn’t end with losses, I lost my mom in 2018, too. I didn’t even do Christmas this year, I spent several days with no human contact and Christmas is my only child’s birthday, so, …


    1. Oh, Bonnie, I’m so sorry for your loss–and for the challenge holidays often bring to the picture when life changes so dramatically. Jesus walks with you through times of trouble–way easier to say than do. But it’s true. I appreciate your honesty. Dumping all this at the throne of grace–which will look like an everyday occurrence–helps you release what you’ve never been intended to hang onto.


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