I blame it on my father who, at times, has seemed to me the last of the old testament prophets. In truth I’ve never seen him do anything remotely close to what I do. That is to say he’s not one to look for signs in the sky. But I see signs everywhere. God seems always to be speaking to me; in the scriptures, in the moon, in license plates. It is as if He is somehow always whispering… and often chuckling. So I tend to do most things with some measure of significance tied to them; for instance, decorating a Christmas tree.
This past holiday season the tree was decorated with great difficulty. Firstly, a kitten had been living with us (I think I have a slightly funny cat video here). No more explaination is needed there. Secondly my children had no interest in helping me. Turns out my decorating O.C.D. has turned me into a fun sponge and despite several requests no one was interested in stringing lights, hanging gold icicles, or the like. Lastly, the type of evergreen I purchased looked lovely in its natural habitat but it was seriously not conducive to decking a tree in ribbon and baubles (because bringing a tree inside for a month isn’t a strange enough tradition for celebrating the birth of Jesus. We need to “deck” it).
After a couple attempts to decorate it all by my lonesome I had resigned the tree to being a socially accepted eyesore and went on with life. However, upon putting my children to bed on Christmas Eve I was swept up in a fleeting glimpse of holiday spirit and with unforeseen fortitude went to decking the tree one more time. At nearly midnight, after wrapping Christmas gifts by himself, my husband joined me in the sitting room to bask in the white-yellow glow of little lights reflecting off shiny ornaments. I smiled at my handiwork as he complimented me and then proceeded to explain the significance of each element on the tree to him.
A ribbon of musical notes: A reminder that worship is warfare.
Homemade Paper Stars: Our family (we made them together). Common material, temporary and easily damaged and yet, beautiful, unique and important. Handle with care.
Gold and Silver Baubles: Promises I am still believing for
Black Feathers: The sorrows of the year
My husband knows me well enough not to be overly surprised by the weird things I do (putting black feathers on a Christmas tree) and this time he went so far as to enjoy my little memorial. It was a moment we savored together and a few days later, as we continued in our Christmas celebration, he brought something to my attention. “Hey look! Most of the feathers have fallen off. Its like God is telling us that the sorrows won’t last.”
And they don’t.
Most trials come inconveniently, and stay too long. Unwanted house guests demanding of us more than we care to give. But in the hands of a loving Father, even the most obscene trial, can turn out otherwise unattainable blessings. Whether in this life or the next, every feather will fall. Every sorrow will succumb to silence and nothingness. And what will remain is what is Good. This is a great hope.
“Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.”