He started out as the perfect bow decoration (all body parts intact) on a present many Christmases ago. With little blue overalls and a red and white checkered shirt (sounds like Raggedy Andy now that I think about it), he was about five inches in length. Two pre-school sisters, Jamie and Janet, thought he was the cutest thing ever, and he ended up in the tree ornament box after the holidays. Every year since his debut, the little red-hair boy has graced our holiday tree.
For the first few years, he could easily be found front and center. Gradually over the years, he became worn with time and faded. We never knew when or where he lost that eye! By the way, one shirt sleeve is flat so there’s an arm missing as well. His conspicuous place on our tree slowly evolved to the side and lower inside the branches, barely visible.
One year as we all decorated the tree, I could not find our favorite ornament. I noticed two middle-school sisters weren’t saying much. Finally, the truth came out with laughter and pleading, “Momma, don’t put that little one-eye red-hair boy on the tree this year. He looks awful!” After some searching, I rescued him from behind the piano and he regained his prestigious position, front and center, on our Christmas tree.
Now many years later, I still have my little one-eye red-hair-boy. Every year I hold him and smile and remember. Such good memories fill my heart! I have to tell you though, if you want to see him on our Christmas tree, you will have to look behind the tree and next to the wall, somewhere in the middle. That’s his home now every December. Janet knows where to find him. Our grandchildren, Sage and Graham, know where to find him. And when they do, we can’t help but laugh and remember. A temporary Christmas bow decoration that wasn’t meant to last past that first Christmas in our home has forever lodged itself in our hearts. He may not be easily visible when you look at our tree, but he’s there.
The same can be said about our family tree. Jamie is no longer with us, but she still occupies a prominent place in our hearts and always will. Life on this earth is so temporary and fleeting. However, memories are God’s gift to us, and I choose to remember those happy times—and smile.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4). “But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people’” (Luke 2:10). Merry Christmas!