Christmas music in the background, Josh ignoring his friends and diligently helping me put up the tree, kids searching for “their” ornaments and lovingly hanging them, hot chocolate, good conversation, laughter, uplifting talk about service, and a finished, beautiful, although obviously kid decorated, tree.
And the real story:
Our tree is a beautiful 9 ft unlit wonder that requires you to work hard to not only get the pole straight, but then carefully sort, assemble and “fluff” the branches before adding lights. I was grumpy about it. Josh was joyful and helped me carry, sort and fluff. More than half our lights were burnt out. The replacement option Justin brought home from work was a different color, so I quickly ran to the store and grabbed the last three boxes of lights at Smiths. Also a different color. We decided to embrace the “ombre look”. The kids searched for their ornaments, and also fought about whose was whose until Anna decided to write the owner’s name on the ones that were in dispute.
Justin decided to set up our new Google home while the kids and I worked on the tree. It played beautiful Christmas music which was interrupted every two seconds by Max saying “Okay Google, How does a TV work?” or “Okay Google, how much does a dinosaur bone weigh?” It got even better when Justin taught them that if they said, “Okay Google I’m bored.” that Google would play games with them. There was laughter. Justin did make some pretty awesome hot chocolate, and in the end there was a beautiful tree, some Light the World discussion, and a destroyed house that I’m still trying to put back in order.
*The kids new ornaments: sharks for the boys, a dolphin for Anna, and a tiger that “roars” for AJ (not pictured)
The first story seems magical. So does the second story.
The first story captures the essential elements, beauty, love, family.
The second story goes deeper. It makes me laugh and reminds me of my family’s quirks, and the joys, and irritations of living with five other completely unique human beings.
Both stories have their purpose.
Everyone has a story. Every person that I come in contact with has a deep personal story that brought them to the place they are at. I never know the whole story. Not even with the people that I love most. Sometimes I know the instagram version, sometimes I know more, but not all of it. Never all of it. There is only One who knows it all.
Even the second story I wrote is superficial. I could talk about each participants personality, how much it meant to me that Josh helped me, or how much Justin hates decorating the tree, but is there anyway.
My gift to Christ this Christmas season is to try to remember there is always more to everyone’s story, and grant them grace.