New Beginnings include the past

A New Year is here! With that most of us embrace this time as a time of new beginnings and great hope in anticipation for all that is ahead of us. Somehow though many of us are carrying into the new year things we rather not. Things we experienced last year or from times past that we would rather forget or rid of from our memory, still seem to be right here with us. These memories or experiences can weigh us down or taint our future where we want to bring goodness and joy into our lives or the lives of others. I’m learning this year, better than before, to take these seemingly negative things that have happened and turn them into something beautiful, new and meaningful, that will shape my life in ways that are hopeful and good for others.

I was looking at our Christmas tree last night, as we counted down to the New Year (and yes, I stayed home in my yoga pants watching movies!) and noticed just how bright, sparkling and gorgeous it was. I just love our tree! It’s not amazing as some I’ve seen in images, but it’s perfect to me.  I just sat there staring at the glimmering lights and realized I’d be taking it down and packing away the ornaments and lights to end the season in just a few days.  The tree would then sit there stark and wilting, ready to be recycled and thrown back into the earth never to be seen again. The ornaments though, old and new, would be delicately wrapped, tucked away, and put in a safe place for keeping until next year when we will buy a new green gorgeous tree to redecorate and to celebrate God willing once again.

Our troubles, stressors, or pains from this past year are kind of like the Christmas tree. Really, the tree in itself  is beautiful, alive and perfectly made, green and full of life. It’s a tree! It comes just as it is, and truly doesn’t need an ornament or light to be beautiful and complete. We come into this world this way also. We are beautiful and complete, lacking nothing really.  Well, not entirely right?  We are lacking. Our journey here is meant for so much more. We have much to do and much to experience to truly be complete and whole, new and full of life. That is for sure true.

Our Christmas tree is covered with ornaments that the kids have made throughout their younger years, ones passed down from generations, new and fun ones we have collected along the way and the sentimental ones we give each other each new year. We decorate the tree in the somewhat the same manner each year, but each year it is entirely different. The ornaments are placed just so, with great care but in new ways and areas on the tree. They have new meaning each year, and shine and glimmer differently as they are placed next to ornaments they’ve never been near, which gives a newness that always amazes me. When decorated and complete I may even be (sadly. haha) caught moving them about, to create symmetry and a better flow. I can’t help myself!  The tree is always beautiful and some years prettier than the past. Yes sometimes the tree may be thinner or not as healthy, sometimes too expensive or too short or tall. But, always new and special, always changing. Our memories and experiences are just the same. We are covered in them, just as the tree is with the ornaments and lights.  Our every thought and action, dream and waking moment is affected in some way by our experiences. Each new year we bring those experiences and memories with us. Whether they are wanted  or not they are with us.

What I want to do this new year is to first see myself as the naked tree perfectly made full and beautiful and complete. Not because I am but because God sees me that way. And that way, I want to be. I want to realize that I don’t need to be shining, glowing or pretty every moment.  I don’t need to be a certain way to be noticed. Just as the tree I can change each year. I can let go of things that don’t serve me, and tuck them away. Just as we take down the ornaments, wrap them up and put them away for safe keeping. Also knowing that we could change up the look of the tree entirely by not reusing the ornaments we have or by buying new ones. We can let go of old ways and memories and change them and shift them in to new ways of being or seeing things, just as the tree. We can even let go of things we don’t need, “recycle” them, or rid of them all together. It’s up to us. We get to choose how we want to be and how we will carry ourselves into all that awaits us.

For today I’m going to enjoy my sparkling, shimmering memory making tree! In a few days I’ll take it down and decide what to keep and what to discard. I have ornaments that have broken and ones I no longer like. I have ones I patch and glue every year that I never want to fall apart, or lose. I will look at each ornament with a grateful heart, wrap it carefully and tuck it away for next year. Although truthfully, there may be a few though that are just not going to make it til next year. And that’s okay. They were meant to be with us as long as they were, they all served their purpose. They will most certainly be missed  but also replaced with something colorful, shiny, bright and wonderful next year. I will choose that for my tree and me!

Happy New Year friends! You are perfectly made. He thinks so.