So, like a couple of million other people, I decided to tackle the month of November with the slightly-cliche Thirty Days of Thankful. I’m so glad I did! It is such a tangible reminder to for me to find something fantastic in everyday. Some days are easier than others, but I’ have not failed to find a thing to be thankful for daily.
Today I’m thankful for a tree skirt. I’m sure that’s silly and a little materialistic but let me dig and tell you why.
About 11 years ago my husband and I had moved into the home we built together and still live in. Our first home as newlyweds and we were super excited to spend our first Christmas together our home. We had been long-distance dating for a couple of years prior to this, so it was extra special. Like all new brides, I had put a crazy amount of pressure on myself to have “just the perfect Christmas” together. I decorated somewhat sparingly but it was very important to me that our tree be beautiful. I prepared by purchasing ornaments, ribbon, garland, hooks, and more lights than I could count. (I come from a long line of women who like to double down on the Christmas tree lights…so like 1000s of twinkles. Clark would be proud.)
We spent a lovely pre-kid, newly married evening decorating our tree just so with hot cocoa and Christmas music swirling around the room. I’m pretty certain to top it off we danced to our wedding song and you know, all that mushy romantic newlywed stuff. Just as it became time to put the topper on the tree, I realized — I’d forgotten to choose one! And the lovely magical evening came crashing down around me. I had failed. I had failed as a planner. I had failed as a self-proclaimed Christmas-lover. I had failed as a wife. Surely he would leave me after this. (I think you all know better, but let’s just make sure you get how distraught I was.)
My husband noticed my tear-filled eyes about to burst and sensed the panic I was feeling. As all men do, he intended to “fix” it. He scoured the room and found a Santa hat which he proudly declared to be “the perfect top to a tree”. Reluctantly, I agreed with the promise that we would pick a new perfect topper as soon as possible. Well, as the hustle bustle of the holiday continued we never purchased one. And the next year, we topped the tree with the same old Christmas hat, followed by promises to find the perfect star topper. This unwanted tradition continued a couple more years. Each time followed by the same promise to replace the Santa hat.
Now our children love to top the tree with the red velvet the sits atop Kris Kringle’s brow and it’s one of my favorite stories to tell.
I’m sure you’ll never believe this but a couple of years ago, I vowed to replace our old tree skirt. The design didn’t match our tree any more as we’ve graduated from my old taste to kid-created, vacation purchased, memory-filled ornaments. I look each year for a new tree skirt, and I’ve tried to replace it a time or two, but couldn’t find the “right look”. Well, this year is different! As our youngest daughter and I browsed Walmart (of all places!) waiting for my husband to finish and errand with our oldest daughter, we found it! The tree skirt created to look just like Santa’s belt! Red and velvet with black leather, a gold buckle, and white fur trim. Nothing could be better than this to go with our Santa hat topper. I almost cried in aisle…I’m not even kidding. Kamden got it, she’s 7. She shouted, “Mom! We have to get it!” And we did.
I am thankful for the tree skirt and excited to see how it looks when we put up our tree on Sunday after Thanksgiving. (All you early decorators stress me out. Shame on you.) But I am most thankful for the lightbulb (kairos) moment I had when we found it. We had searched for years for the perfect tree topper and we had it all along. We searched a few more for a tree skirt and after some time and waiting, we found it, almost by accident.
In all this I was reminded of God’s timing. How we often pray and wait, and pray and wait for whatever it is we are pleading for. I was reminded that waiting is hard, but His timing is glorious. I can think of so many other examples of waiting for God’s timing in my life and as I reflect on the tree skirt, I’m thankful for each of those as well.