Monday, December 6, 2010

What's More Important?

Yesterday we got our Christmas tree.

For the past five years, we've been purchasing "live" trees (evergreens with giant rootballs), decorating and making them live inside with us for a couple of weeks and then planting them in the backyard after Christmas.

This year is no different.  We have a little Colorado blue spruce putting forth oxygen in our living room. 

But I have to ask...

Does anyone else have the white lights versus colored lights "discussion" in their house? 

Or the tacky tinsel and "icicles" fight? (I have some words for the person who invented those; I'm pretty sure it was a vacuum salesman.)

One of the first arguments Chris and I had was over whether or not we would have colored lights on our Christmas tree.  Adamant in my Christmas "purist" ways, I stomped and cried and shouted, saying, "Never, EVER will I have a Christmas tree lit with anything but white, non-blinking lights."  My sister was witness to that argument and had to turn her back to me a few times to keep from laughing out loud.  It was pretty ridiculous--I'll admit. 

Fast forward 10 years. 

My tree is covered in colored lights and "icicles". 

And I couldn't be happier. 

A friend of ours recently became a foster mom.  She immediately opened her home to three non-related kids:  a ten-year-old boy, a five-year-old girl, and a newborn.

The ten-year-old spends every Sunday afternoon with us.  (I'm not going to use his real name here or make up a fake one.)  He's such a great kid.  In his ten years, he's faced more adversity and crappy life situations than I have in my 33.  We are so blessed to offer him a place to just HAVE FUN and be a kid.  We are all endeared to him, and Timothy keeps asking if he can live with us forever. 

So of course we wanted him to join us as we decorated our Christmas tree.

Chris asks the boy the big question:

"Buddy, should we use colored lights or white lights on the tree?"

The reply:  "Colored!!!  They're much more fun."

Chris then hands the strand of colored lights to the boy and asks, "Would you like to do it?"  The boy's eyes lit up with the honor of being requested to do such a thing.  With having the trust placed in him to do such a thing.  I could actually see his shoulders straighten as he stepped up to the task. (And I fell more deeply in love with my husband at that moment.)

Now I'll reveal the depth of my shallowness. 

As I sat back and observed him light the tree, a little battle took place in my guts. 

Watching him string the lights on the tree--colored lights, mind you--and skip over large sections while doing so, was hard for me.  I had to sit on my hands and press my lips together.  I kept telling myself, "Be quiet.  You just let him do it.  You hush.  Christmas is not about perfection."

It was much like the scene from "To Kill a Mockingbird" when Scout, the vivacious little girl in the novel, scolds Walter Cunningham, a very poor share-cropper's son, for drenching his entire plate in molasses when he is having lunch with her family. Calpurnia, the family's black cook, takes her aside and scolds her, saying, "If that boy wants to pour it all over his meat and potatoes, you let him, you hear?"

I just let our sweet friend put those lights on the tree any way he wanted to. 

And it filled my heart with unspeakable joy.

The last time I checked, Christmas is much more about moments like these than it is about how the house looks.

Lesson learned. 

4 comments:

Stacy said...

I love this... and I bet it's the most beautiful tree EVER!

anjie said...

So sweet....I love my colored lights!! That little boy will remember that the rest of his life : )

Caneel said...

Love this story, Ginny! :)

SundayClothes said...

ohh how sweet... i love this, a real chirstmas story.