It's been a few years since we've had a Christmas tree in our home at Christmas time. The first time we didn't get a Christmas tree, Jeff had just been laid off and money was tight. The next year, money was still tight, but my newfound allergies also came into play and because we were going to spend Christmas morning at my parents home, we opted to again, not a get a tree. This year, as luck would have it, money is still tight, but we were determined to get a Christmas tree. So we paid a visit to the Christmas tree lot for the first time in 3 years and found the perfect tree at a price we couldn't refuse.
The next day as we were doing some cleaning around the house, Jeff decided to take our bags of recycled goods to be recycled, and this time, he decided to try out a different recycling center. We normally don't get much more than $20 for the cans and bottles we recycle and I often question why we go to the trouble of letting them collect in the backyard, but Jeff always insists. Perhaps he really is trying to save the environment! As he was leaving the recycling center, he called me and said "Guess how much we got this time! You'll never believe it." Come to find out, the amount he got for our recycled goods was almost exactly the amount we paid for our Christmas tree this year.
I know in my heart that it isn't coincidence at all and when I heard that I felt extremely blessed. It's so easy to get caught up in the commercialization of Christmas. In all the gifts you feel like you have to buy and planning the perfect outfits for the holiday parties you're attending. We've had some pretty tough Christmases, especially over the past few years and every year when the holidays roll around, I always seem to get caught up in thinking about all the things I don't have that I think I should have. And it always makes me just want to skip this holiday altogether because it feels more sorrowful than joyful. And then somehow, when I least expect it, I'm always reminded of what the Christmas season is all about.
While at the Christmas tree lot this week, Jeff was busy securing our newly purchased tree to the top of the car and this feeling of gratitude came over me. I imagined how years from now, we'd look back on these times and cherish them. That someday we'd be able to say that even though we didn't have a lot of money, we had each other and we understood the meaning behind the Christmas season. I'm mildly allergic to our noble fur, but every time I see it in our living room, it reminds me that I can still feel joy during the Christmas season, even in the midst of life's trials. And that this year, I can be especially grateful for sinus rinsing kits.