05 December 2016

Lessons from my Christmas Tree

I was a little anxious and nervous about decorating my apartment for Christmas this year.

Last year right before Thanksgiving I moved back to my parents. I didn't have to worry about decorating a home for the holidays since I was temporarily living in their basement. 

But this year is different. Its the first set of holidays in my new little home, by myself.

The weekend of Thanksgiving growing up was when we busted out the tree and played Andy Williams Christmas CD like it was never going out of style. It was always so magical, fun, and loud.

This year on the same weekend, I started unpacking the few Christmas decorations I saved. Shortly after, I just burst into tears (grief is a funny thing). Right away I was reminded that I would be decorating and baking and watching Christmas movies by myself this year. And that just royally sucked.

I let myself cry and be sad. I acknowledged the loneliness and that it feels crappy not having anyone to share this magical time of the year with. Eventually I got it together, made some tea and decided to give decorating a break and journal out the crazy making that started going on in my head.

Several days later I did put up a few things.

The Advent wreath is on the kitchen table. A small Christmas tree with clear twinkle lights sits on the table next to the couch. A small nativity scene is on the bookshelf and several Christmas-y scented candles are scattered around. 

One night I was sitting in the living room; candles lit and I was just enjoying the lights from the little tree sparkling.

I sat there admiring this humble little tree, and started thinking how symbolic it is of life right now for me. Its not big or grand and beautiful like every other Christmas tree I have had. I always wanted our tree to look perfect growing up. I was the nut job that had to have certain ornaments in the exact same position every year. Really who honestly remembers that stuff? Me.

My tree this year is not my dream tree, not the perfect tree I imagine in my mind like years past. It is small, simple, and humble. Life right now is not perfect. It is just different, a time of transition, learning, growing, and healing.

That's why I love Advent so much. 

Advent is a season of waiting and hope. It reminds me that the journey of life is full of seasons of waiting and doing, being still and living out of your mission. 

No season of life is permanent, is forever. 

But seasons of waiting prepare for the next chapter, the next season in our lives. Waiting is hard. But if we use it well, it can be such a an opportunity of growth and self-awareness.

I want to use my season of waiting well.

So I am learning to love this imperfect little tree, this time of life, and not wish it all away. Christmas will still be beautiful and magical this year even without someone to share it with. 

Because actually I am sharing it with someone. The one we are preparing our hearts for.

And spending this season of waiting with him right now is the best thing I can be doing.

post signature


  1. Patty, I am holding you up in prayer this Advent and Christmas season. I think your reflections on this season of your life are so beautiful, and I'm really glad that you've let God bring so much goodness out of the pain of this past year. I think it's so neat that you draw so much from your little Charlie Brown tree, and I'll think of that when I decorate our little tree! (due to living in apartments, my husband and I have always had a small tabletop tree-and I love it a lot)

  2. This was so beautifully written. Grief is such a weird thing, that gets better and worse--today is a 'worse' day for me...and the day I wrapped Christmas presents was a 'worse' one too. But life itself demands hope. And sparkly Christmas lights are worth enjoying.


09 10