Soft white lights, dancing to an unknown rhythm, casting shadows across the walls of my living room. My Christmas tree stands proud, up a week early, spreading excitement and the want to give. Decorated not with the shiny new ornaments bought just last year, but instead with glittery paper candy canes, broken pine cones, Christmas tree cutouts, construction paper crafts, half painted wooden stars, all with the names of my children scribbled on the back.
You see, while searching for my shiny new ornaments (to make my tree picture perfect), my five year old found a bag of these keepsakes, exclaiming "I made that!" and "Look what I did!" and "Mom! Remember that?"
I found myself discouraging him from hanging them on the tree. "Wait, let's find the new ones." You know, so our tree could look like the one on the cover of the magazine that came in the mail this week. "Wait, those are broken." "Wait, those are too close together, hang them like this....."
And then I stopped.
I started handing him the ornaments from the bag that had been stored away in the bottom of our Christmas box. And I watched as our tree became filled once again with memories of years gone by. Picture perfect? Probably not. But perfect. A beautiful, perfect mess. And now, a day later, as I sit staring at our tree, my heart is full.
I am thankful for memories that never fade, and simple reminders like broken pine cones hanging from pieces of yarn.
I am thankful for empty stockings hung, my children's names embroidered across the top, soon to be filled with favorite candy, fuzzy socks and little surprises.
I am thankful for Thanksgiving tomorrow. Family gathered. A feast prepared. A time to remember why we are thankful, and give thanks....to the One from Whom all good gifts come.
I am thankful for laundry to fold and dishes to wash. For toys out of place and socks on the floor. For a house that's too small, because it's full.
I am thankful for a God Who loves me unconditionally. Even when I mess up. Because I do.
For a Savior Who died on the cross for me. And forgives.
I am thankful for friends who have come and gone at just the right times. And for those who've stayed.
I am thankful for my family. All of them. They are mine.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who read my blog. To those I know, and those I don't. I am thankful for you.