Decorating a Christmas tree is one of my favourite Christmas traditions. This year we have a new tree. It’s spectacular. Probably more so because I didn’t let the children decorate it. They watched me decorate it and were granted the privilege of hanging a few decorations in specific spots. Yes, I’m that type of mother.
To be fair, I did let them decorate their own tree (our previous tree), I even allowed them to put tinsel on it – I’m not a huge fan of tinsel on trees. You have to have a special knack to put it on a tree and still have tree look tasteful, so I prefer to adorn the tree in other ways.
What my tree is missing is some special ornaments. In our pre-children days we travelled throughout the world. Whenever I can while I was travelling, I would try to buy a Christmas ornament to remember that country. A bauble with a camel on it in Abu Dhabi, from China, little Chinese dolls in traditional dress or another bauble adorned with Parisian landmarks. Unfortunately the world momentos from around the globe are getting fewer on our tree. Last year a Canadian beaver in an Mountie uniform had his tail severed and his toes chipped off. Poor little dude.
This year it was this.
This once was my beautiful glass Union Jack baubles from Harrods in London. I had seen the beautiful ornament and purchased it imagining how stunning it would look on my tree the following year. What I didn’t think through at the time was it was very delicate and I was about to travel through Europe for the next 4 weeks. I hadn’t thought it through, but I worked around it. With great care I carried it through 9 countries on trains, buses, underground and over ground. Then on the 2nd night before we flew out from Paris, I left it in a hotel in Holland. I can confirm; there were tears over this mishap.
Five years later I returned to Harrods at Christmas time hoping to find another Union Jack glass bauble. I did! In fact, I found a box with two in it! Once again, it was transported with the utmost of care and this time it arrived home. Hurrah!
They have been lovingly hung on our tree ever since. Except last year. There was no way I was going to let two year old triplets anywhere near them, so they remained in their boxes. Instead, I delayed it a year until three year old triplets would get them. I had left them in the boxes again this year, but then big brother unpacked them, hung them on the trees and then the triplets had their way with them.
But do you know what? Small things. They were pretty and sentimental. But only stuff.
In Sydney on Monday the peacefulness we enjoy in our country was smashed. Lives were lost. Other lives forever altered. For some people this will become a pivotal point in their lives. For them there will always a before and after point in their lives.
I pray for those people. I pray that the memory of what happened in that cafe on December 15 doesn’t haunt them. That they continue to live their lives confidently and without fear. That our country protects them and our media is respectful of their experiences and their presentation the event.
I think of the two innocent people who were killed. Life can be as fragile as a glass ornament. A man and a woman woke up that morning with dreams, plans. With a future. Before the new day dawned it was smashed leaving the people who loved them weep in their absence. As a nation we mourn those innocent victims because stuff like this shouldn’t happen. People should live life and be safe. In Australia, in all the world.
Peace at Christmas. Surely it is more than a lofty ideal. I’m proud that so many individuals in our nation are rising up and demonstrating love in combat of the hatred that dwelt in one soul.
After all the central element of the Christmas message is love.
It was the love of God for humankind that sent a baby to the world. Because God believed the world was worth saving. Even in that era, there were ugly people roaming the streets, within homes and in levels of government. Even back then the bloodthirsty Romans killed one another in the most brutal and public ways. Yet even so God loved the world that he sent the Divine to earth. Sunday school students learn those very words, “That God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
So this Christmas, even though I know our world is filled with people who have evil in their hearts, I believe that if we keep love the central theme in each one of our lives, Love indeed will triumph. We shall continue our lives and live them displaying love and demonstrating peace. Because before there is peace in the world, there needs to be peace in each of our hearts.