Sunday, December 15, 2013

Love and traditions -- 12 Days of Christmas, Day 3

Hi, all! Welcome to day three of the 12 Days of Christmas with Indie Ignites! As I thought about my post today, the tradition of decorating the gumdrop tree with my grandpa came to mind.

My piddly little tree. No comparison to the original.

When I say this is a piddly little tree in the comment above, I'm not kidding. I have no idea where my grandpa found our gumdrop tree, but it was huge. And dark, dark green. And fat. And the branches came out, and upward a little. It took forever to get it covered (I probably ate half the bag of gumdrops before we were done), and we always used the colorful ones, not just red and green like in this picture. 

As I grew older and became engaged, things changed a little bit with my grandparents. My grandpa was sick, and for some reason, at word of my engagement at seventeen years old (yes, I know--I have three daughters in high school so I now get how this is a big deal) he took that as me rejecting him (the dementia working) and stopped talking to me. It broke my heart, but at the same time, I was in high school. I moved on.

Then, my grandpa passed away. And my grandma had to move. And a lot of stuff was sold. In those few years of all of that happening and me having three kids and whatnot, I completely forgot about the tree. Apparently, my grandma didn't think of it either, because when I finally remembered six years ago or so and asked about it, she had no clue where it was, and we figured she must have sold it. Which, of course, broke my heart again. So just like the book, back to the internet I went, searching for a "gumdrop tree". Not an easy thing to find, let me tell you. 

After searching for forever (okay, only months, but still), this little, piddly tree was all I could find. It's not the same to me, but the girls love it anyway. In fact, we've already had to fill it a couple of times this year because, of course, every time someone walks by they have to eat at least one "ornament". 

A lot of times, the "good" things about the holiday season are tied to things and people and feelings and emotions that aren't necessarily as "good". It's important to remember that this is the whole point of traditions--passing along the "good" that was done with those who are no longer here, so that other people will also have the opportunity to enjoy it. And why do we share in traditions? Well, ultimately, love. Love is the reason for this season. As one song goes, "Love came down and rescued me, Love came down and set me free." So for me, it's about, yes, Love with a capital L for my Savior's love, but also love for my family and those who are near and dear to my heart. We share and celebrate traditions out of love for one another, out of the love He gives us to pass along. 

When I look at that gumdrop tree, I think of the good days with my grandpa. Though the girls never really met him, this tree still reminds me of the good times we had together, and I know that, in a way, it ties them to him, too. And as Hattie says, in Pity Isn't An Option, "...When you love someone, it doesn't matter what they do or don't, or if what they promise takes a little long in carrying out. It doesn't matter if they've hurt you, how many ties you've fought, because true love is unconditional. It's a burning, lasting love, the kind that overlooks all the bad in your soul, and sees only the beautiful. It's an unquestionable pardon for your entire life."

Here's to that kind of love this Christmas, and always. Have a blessed holiday season, and don't forget to enter the Rafflecopter!
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