Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Christmas Tree (10/09/08)
TITLE: My Ornamental Tradition
By LaNaye Perkins
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It all started the year my dad passed away. I was gloomy as an old goat and in no mood to celebrate the season. Oh, I knew I should focus on the birth of our Saviour and I knew I should celebrate. I knew it, but I couldn‘t seem to get past my grief. My dad was one of my heroes, a close friend, and one of my biggest fans. He loved to hear me sing, and loved to read everything I wrote. When he died, I felt as though a huge hole was ripped in my heart. My emotions remained raw for a long time.
I tried repeatedly to get myself motivated to put the ornaments on our naked tree. Several times, I walked over to the boxes of delicate and ornate orbs. Each time, the lump in my throat grew larger and I would give up. I felt it was no use to try anymore. I just could not put up a false pretense and act as though all was well.
Then God used a dear friend to reach out and share with me. She told me how she went through a similar experience after losing her parents years ago. She knew they would want her to rejoice in the season. That is when she got the idea, which she shared with me.
You see, each year she goes out in search of an ornament that reminds her of her mother and father. For example, her father was a musician, so she finds ornaments that represent music or musical instruments. Each year has become an exciting search for her to find just the right ornament to honor her parents. She shared with me how doing this helped her to overcome the sadness that threatened to steal all the joy of Christmas from her.
At first, I was a bit skeptical that a silly ornament would help fill this horrible void in my heart, let alone help me feel like celebrating Christmas. However, I knew Dad would want me to try it. Therefore, with heavy heart, I headed off to town in search of a special ornament for dad.
My mom and I had eaten at Cracker Barrel, and after dinner I looked around their store. That is when I saw it. It practically jumped out of its little box screaming my dad’s name. My dad loved his farm, and the ornament was a miniature John Deere Tractor. It was perfect!
At that moment, I knew God would show me how to rejoice in the season of Christmas that year. I had the peace of knowing the joy I had always experienced would not leave me. I still missed my dad, but knew I was going to be okay once I saw that little tractor.
With my prize in hand, I hurried home to decorate our Christmas tree. My eyes filled with joyful tears as I danced around the tree placing all the decorations on it. Then, as the crowning touch, I tenderly opened up the little box. Very carefully, I lifted the little tractor to the spot I had left in the center of the tree. Hanging it in place, I whispered “Merry Christmas Dad”.
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