December has begun, and along with it, holiday traditions. No matter what our faith happens to be, we all have particular traditions that we follow at this time of year. Some of these traditions have sweet memories associated with them, and the anticipation of little details make them all the more enjoyable. Some traditions have memories that are not so sweet, but we are content to continue following them, because tradition in and of itself is a comfort to us.
One of the time-honored traditions in my family is to take a trip to cut down our Christmas tree. This is something that I have done for as long as I can remember, both as a child and with my own children, and I always look forward to it. I hesitated to get our tree today because it is a little earlier in the season than I typically like to venture out, but the sun was shining bright and the temperature was relatively mild in the upper 30’s, so we bundled everyone up and headed to our favorite tree farm. Not long into our trek, my overly rambunctious 3 year old proved to be more than we could handle, so I took her back to the car where she quickly fell asleep. The photo below sums up her mood, so you can plainly see what we were up against. As we walked back to the car, hand in hand and whimpering all the way, I began to think about the prevailing themes of my tree cutting memories: freezing cold temperatures, biting winds, icy snow, mud, frozen feet, tears, whining, arguments. And naturally I began to wonder, "I look forward to this *why*?" For me, my mind quickly moves past the discomforts and sour emotions, and I embrace the comfort of simply being together. Today, and every day, my goal is to enjoy the moments for what they are, sometimes good, and sometimes not so good. In truth, they are all good in some degree, and it is up to us to make them what we want them to be.
So while I have no idea what our tree will look like when tomorrow we cut the rope wrapped around it, it was still a great day – – I felt the sunshine on my face, my lungs swelled easily in the frigid air, and my van still smells of fresh pine. Best of all, my girls have another memory to add to their bank and while my 3 year old won’t remember any of this, the older two will always have the vision of her screaming and refusing to move her feet one single, solitary inch towards our destination. And that is just funny…and laughter is a good, good thing.