Here it is! There is one box I must find first--the 22-year old cardboard box with yellowing shipping tape and Grandma Laurene's lacy handwriting with our used-to-be address in Oakland on it. This is the decoration that goes up first every year!
The contents are just as they were the first time I opened this box--two pieces of heavy foam sandwiching the prize between them. The excitement is the same in 2010 as it was in 1988! Our very own jewel tree, designed and hand-crafted just for us by Grandma Laurene and Grandpa Dale.
Like others in the family who had these special customized trees, Hero Husband and I, married just 8 months when we received ours, were being acknowledged as the beginnings of a new family, a new branch on the family tree. I loved that!
I looked at every single detail! There were so many lovely vintage pieces of costume jewelry I vividly remembered being worn by both my Grandma and my Great Grandma before her.
Oh, and look here--using an old brooch as a picture frame was a picture of my mom and dad as high school sweethearts--the roots of my tree.
At the top was a cross, properly occupying the most prominent position . . . then a rhinestone "F" for my new last name . . . a golfer pin for Hero Husband with his initials hand painted in gold . . . one of our wedding pictures . . . an American flag for this very American girl . . . a pair of sandstone earrings from the Black Hills of South Dakota--a family favorite place . . . a picture my Grandpa took of me at my graduation--they drove 1800 miles to be there . . . an Oakland A's baseball cap because they knew we were such fans . . . and many, many more details that highlighted who we were.
Each and every piece was a tangible memory, a touchstone, a token of history . . . my history . . . our shared history. There were even little nods to our new life together and celebrations of who we were becoming.
This was such a labor of love! The detailed planning, the framing and arranging, the placing of each light and fixing it in place must have taken hours! I love thinking of my Grandma and Grandpa working together, sharing ideas and picking out each just-right piece, excited to give us the treasure they were creating.
You won't believe this, but I have never had to change a light bulb on my jewel tree! A Christmas miracle? Could be!
There is another labor of love, a true miracle, that outshines even these tiny lights that have lasted me so long. In a humble stable in Bethlehem, a very young, very faithful virgin girl labored to give birth to God's own beloved Son. Her tiny baby held all the hopes and dreams, the joys and passions, the hurts and needs and broken hearts of the whole human race. And if that wasn't a job too big for one so small, He would also be called the "Light of the World." Wrapped in swaddling clothes that temporarily hid the light of His majesty, Jesus came so the lights in our living "jewel trees" would never have to go out.
"The LORD their God will save his people on that day
as a shepherd saves his flock.
They will sparkle in his land
like jewels in a crown."
How are you letting your light shine?
What does it mean to you to be a jewel in His crown?
I'm joining Ann Voskamp in her counting of the multitude of gifts God bestows everyday!
I hope you'll join in if you haven't already!