My husband, being of the lineage of perfection when doing anything made of wood including Christmas trees, in years past would labor endlessly through the Christmas tree lots to find the perfect tree. Not only would he hunt for the perfect kind with the fullest branches but it had to have a perfectly straight trunk. Now he labors endlessly getting the branches in the right places on the tin pole or whatever you call the thing in the middle that makes a few branches look like a tree. He meticulously strings the lights and the rest is up to me. I begin to pull all the things saved for years from the totes that I’ve dragged up the stairs from the basement. Whether I’ll use all the “stuff” contained in the totes or not, I just have to go through them all. Traditions and memories are stored in these totes and from year to year most of them are placed in their respective places on the tree and on shelves and tables from room to room.
Traditions and memories flood over me as the tree stands dressed. Spicy aromas fill the air from candles burning, music is playing, and nostalgia rules my heart. What is it about that first night sitting in front of the beautifully decorated Christmas tree that like no other time of year fills me with such emotion? It could be that when everyone else is in bed and I, in my robe and slippers sit quietly sipping a cup of cider, that it’s a time to reflect and to remember. It’s time to remember when our children were little and how excited they were and how now our children have their own precious little ones.
It’s a time to remember a very special person in my life, a personal tradition that looms higher every Christmas season. It’s a coveted time when I turn off all the lights in the house except for the ones casting shadows from the Christmas tree. Music playing from the CD player is turned off and sitting on a table beside me is an old cassette player long lost but found again to be used one more time. I insert an audio cassette in the recorder which as been preserved over the years in a drawer. There’s a recording on the cassette of a trio I sang with many years ago. I fast forward to a special song we sang at several Christmas celebrations called, “No Room”. Nostalgia never ceases to overwhelm me even though as I listen the tone and imperfect recording has something to be desired. I remember that one of us who now celebrates Christmas in Heaven is still singing with her beautiful soprano voice with the angel chorus. My special tradition is one that stands as a tribute to my friend, Joanie. With her sweet spirit and the love of Jesus radiating from her heart, she made such a difference in my life.
Sometimes we giggled until we couldn’t sing, other times we choked up with emotion from the effective lyrics of the songs, but always with a cup of coffee, maybe a cookie or a doughnut on a table near by, to appease or to get us back on track. The harmony we strived for was not only in our music but always as friends who loved each other.
The message of the song we sang, “No Room”, though you don’t hear it often any more, I remember. I remember how there was no room for the baby Jesus and how in His world He was turned away. It brings tears to my eyes not only because I miss my friend as I do but because the message rings true new every Christmas season.
by John W. Peterson
I bow my head and listen in silence once again to the love this special tradition brings to me. It reminds me to share the good news and to make room for Jesus this Christmas. Make sure that in your world He isn’t a “stranger today”. He was born in a village to live and to die as Savior of this world. He extends a “cheery welcome” to all who make room for him.
He lives today in my heart and I can almost hear heavenly hosts of angels and saints from the ages singing praises around God’s throne. I know Joanie’s beautiful voice is heard among them.
Traditions are made for such a time as this. Bless you as you make room in your hearts for Jesus this Christmas.