Each year in Babygirl's memory we have trekked out to a nearby tree farm and hiked from one corner to the other and back to select a tree. We've squelched through mud, cold rain, snow, and one memorable year, ice disguised as mud. We've done it with as many as seven kids, and often with friends thrown in.
Thanksgiving was early this year, and we didn't think a fresh tree would be looking to healthy by Christmas if we cut one on the 24th of November, so we decided that December 2nd would be our tree trek this year.
Until Babygirl got sick. Again.
Five days in the hospital is a physical challenge. Three nights of almost no sleep because your child is suffering is doubly disabling because it completely takes the heart out of you. Somewhere around Thursday afternoon I started to feel as if maybe, just maybe, I was starting to recover. By last evening, it was clear that although I'm certainly better rested than I was on Monday, I wasn't going to have the energy to do everything I need to do this weekend - get and decorate a tree, clean the house, and do some much-delayed Christmas shopping. And Hubby has his own dark sorrow. His Dad died last year on Christmas Eve, and he is grieving still.
Hubby and I talked it over and made a tough call - buy a pre-cut tree locally.
Babygirl was disappointed. Although I certainly remember many times when I've gone to a local shop to get a tree, she doesn't. And the break in tradition saddened her. And since we usually go in the morning to get a tree, we decorate it as soon as it goes up. But last night, the tree went up at 9:30 PM. So no lights. No decorations. No angel.
I had a bit of insomnia last night, and when I finally gave in and got up at 4 AM, I decided to tackle the tree lights. Each year at least one of last year's string of lights expires. In anticipation of this, I had gotten some of the new LED light strings in a pre-Christmas sale. I tested the old lights, and had seven working strands of 100. It's a smaller tree than usual, so it should be enough, I think.
Until I got to the bottom foot of the tree and ran out. I pulled out the new lights. Not a good color match (and LED lights appear to VIBRATE when they are handled - a nightmare for the migraineur!). Hoping that it wouldn't be too noticeable, I strung them and stepped back. UghUghUgh.
I got another cup of coffee and sat down to consider the matter. I can either re-string the entire tree, leave the bottom foot a bit dark, or add another layer of lights over the ones that are already there to make it blend. I opt for the extra layer of lights.
I was thinking as I worked that this was going to be entirely too much light. But then.....
In this darkest season of the year, in this dark time in our lives, how can we have too much light? As we celebrate the arrival of The Light in our lives, how can we forget that "the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light"? How can we forget the angels, the proclamation of peace on earth, and the overwhelming light of the Star?
I had just finished when Babygirl came down for her morning medications at seven.
When she saw the tree, all 1000 lights were reflected in her beautiful smile. Despite the sunglasses, her heart clearly agreed - there is no such thing as too much light.