We have a Christmas tree ornament that our youngest son made in his very early years – kindergarten or maybe even before. It is essentially a plastic meat tray with differing sizes and patterns of cloth (mostly red and greens) glued to it. There is a piece of yarn glued to the top so it will hang on the tree. For many, many years it has been relegated to back side of the tree, you know the side nobody sees, the side against the wall. I think I may move it forward this year.
For some reason all those scraps of fabric have taken on a different meaning recently. I have been thinking about “re-framing” the way I look at Christmas. That ornament represents more than the tiny little hands that cut and glued that fabric and yarn, although that is reason enough to have it on the tree. It represents all the different pieces of life that go into making a whole – not one of them quite complete in itself but together they make the whole. There is even something remarkable about the fact that the glue has held all of that together for about 30 years now
It is sort of like a family or a church. Not one of us can do it alone or right or perfect but when we put all our pieces together we come up with a product that offers glory to God in a way that reflects more than individual pieces – it represents the unity of the whole. It represents the ragged pieces of our lives, the uneven paths we have walked to get here; it represents the different “colors” of experiences and gifts that we bring to the whole. It represents the love of God that holds all those different pieces together over the long haul.
In a way it represents family and the raggedness of relationships along the way, our different pathways and our interconnectedness. Sometimes we move towards the edges, sometimes we are right in the middle.
So I am moving the “meat tray” ornament to the forefront so I can see it more often and remember what it tells me about who we are as people, as family, as church, as the broken who are made whole by the love of God.