I wasn’t planning on decorating for Christmas.
Last year was the first year I was on my own. I left the Christmas tree with my ex, so I got creative with decorations. I had used three small trees on the front porch at the old house, so I covered a small table with a blanket, then put the trees on top. It was simple but nice. I put a few other favorite decorations around the house, especially since my girls and I were celebrating at the house I was renting. After I had already put up the trees, I found a tree on sale, and I stored it in the basement for this year.
But this year, my girls and I are celebrating somewhere else. I’m still in the rental house, and I decided to wait until next year to put up the new tree, perhaps when I’ll have a house of my own.
A few days ago, I decided to put out a few decorations. I like Christmas, and the familiar decorations I’ve put out through the years are cozy to me. Even if I don’t have my own house, I have a home. It’s my safe, comfortable place.
Why not put up the tree? So, I decorated my home for Christmas yesterday. I turned on Christmas music, hauled totes and boxes from the basement, and smiled as I sorted and decided what to put where.
I sighed at the familiar.
Sure, it was a bit different. My ex always put up the tree and covered it with lights, then I (and often the girls) would finalize it with ornaments. But I opened the Christmas tree box for the first time. I broke the seal. I sorted the branches, and I followed the color-coded layers and shaped each branch. I wrapped each branch with lights I’d also bought on sale last year. I went through all the blinking options and chose a calming setting. I added favorite ornaments and set aside the ones with less-favorite memories. I decided on a creative, different tree topper.
I stood back and looked at the tree…and smiled. I finished choosing the rest of the decorations I most wanted around the house, then I put all the boxes and totes away and cleaned the house.
I was content. I brought pieces of the past into the present, and I incorporated newness of my future. And I was content.
Living on my own is new. Sure it’s been almost a couple years since my ex decided our marriage was over, but the suddenness of it all after so many years of marriage has taken a while to adjust. And I’m sure I still have much room to grow and heal.
But for now, I can look around and sigh, appreciating where I am, the many friends and family I love and do life with, and hope for the future.
Life is good. Because God is good. Life is always hard, but in the context of God’s goodness, I find peace and contentment.