One of my favorite holiday traditions is decorating our family Christmas tree. I love hauling our ornament boxes from the garage, cranking up the Christmas carols and the fireplace, and gathering in our living room to adorn the tree with memories. I have friends that have beautifully themed Christmas trees with complimentary color combinations and they are gorgeous. However, there is nothing more beautiful to me than our Christmas tree made up of ornaments collected over the years. I love the laughs and stories that are shared as we pull out each one. We giggle at the wooden skier that has been missing her ski for as long as we can remember and the hand painted ornaments our kids made with love in class throughout their elementary years. Each one symbolizes a special memory and season in our lives. Though some have stood the test of time and others are showing signs of their age, when hung together on the tree they glisten and make the most beautiful display.
This year is extra special because our daughter has just come home for the holidays after completing her first term in college. To have our family complete once again made this tradition even more special. I savored our time together reminiscing over wonderful memories and it made me appreciate the mismatched ornaments all that much more. They each had played a part in our story. The broken, lackluster ornaments were among our favorites, because they held special moments that we treasure.
As I think about our eclectic family Christmas tree, I reflect on the individuals that enter our school each day. Like ornaments, some sparkle and glisten while others are lacking luster from the harshness of life and have pieces that are broken. However, each one has their own unique story to tell. Without a personal connection, we may not see the beauty from the outside and may be tempted to only display the ones that sparkle. However, when we take time to listen and get to know those that we serve, we begin to see the light that radiates from within. We no longer see the brokenness, but rather the beauty. We are able to recognize their fears and challenges so we can help them realize their dreams and passions. We are able to help them understand what an important part they play not only in our school culture but our world; radiating a special beauty when given an opportunity to shine brightly for all to see.
This year, more than ever, my heart has been troubled by so many that have experienced the harshness of life. So many are hurting. Never underestimate the power you hold in helping the broken realize their inner beauty. They need someone to believe in them. They need to know that they are valued and loved; that they are beautiful and that they have a light to shine. Just like a Christmas tree, there is nothing more radiant than when all the ornaments are given a spot to shine and display their beauty.
Culinary teacher & Discovery School Lead in Southern Oregon, passionate about finding innovative ways to make learning magical for students. Love to gamify!