As I was packing away ornaments last week, I came across one my oldest son had given me when he was a pre-schooler, almost 20 years ago. Other than having an incredibly adorable picture of him, it was the same kind of ornament many other mothers have and treasure, I'm sure. The amazing thing about this ornament however, is that it survived an attic fire that destroyed all my other Christmas decorations and other precious keepsakes. The ornament is priceless because it's of my son, and especially because of what it has survived. I'm sure it doesn't look the way it did when my 4-year-old son proudly presented it to me. It has aged, and although not burned, its original clear red color has been darkened by smoke.
This year I had to force myself to get out Christmas decorations. After yet another move, I felt "boxed out." As an almost empty-nester, I also wasn't looking forward to the wave of emotions Christmas memories bring. Still raw and unsettled, I forced myself to "unpack" more stuff, although on a much smaller scale than previous Christmases. Although the children are grown and I face a new journey, the smoked ornament reminded me of what God has brought me through. It also served as a touching reminder of how God treasures one who has come through the fire.