A handful of years ago we started a Christmas tradition that has become a favorite of mine. We didn’t start it because we were feeling fun or festive or nostalgic. We started it because we found out that my husband’s van needed new tires and brakes and a slew of other things that totaled up to double its worth.
Bunny trail: for five years my husband and I both drove mini vans. I married a man who will drive a mini van day in and day out. To meetings and guy type things and anywhere that four wheels will take him. He even took it hunting and once strapped a deer to the top and drove it home. He drives a different car now, but I’ll never ever forget how he didn’t bat one eyelash at driving that garnet colored thing everywhere. It’s good for me that I married a man who has the kind of faith that overflows contentment. I battle a strivey heart. He doesn’t.
It was the last year we owned that van that the repair bills loomed over our whole Christmas. So, when we walked through the Christmas tree lot, every price felt like too much. That year we decided we would buy the least expensive tree we could find and be done with it. It was a decision that was easier for him than for me as I favor trees with tops that brush the ceiling and spread their green, spindly arms wide. It’s embarrassing, but I was doing battle with my strivey heart.
It was a fine Christmas. We still watched Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer over and over again. We still made hot chocolate. We still strung twinkle lights everywhere. We still sang carols. We still searched for the just the right ways to say I love you. It was what it always has been and always will be: a season about a Baby wrapped up in our skin just to be close us, just to draw us close to a loving Father.
And this is our game now. We always, always look for the saddest, most lop-sided, shortest, wonkiest tree on the lot. We look for the tree that looks the most like our hearts: here, broken, healing, strivey, messy, wonderful and completely upside down.