13: The Christmas Ornament

13: The Christmas Ornament

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Tough Times

The Christmas Ornament

By Karen Asire

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

~Psalm 16:11

As the children excitedly opened the box of Christmas ornaments and began hanging them on the tree, I struggled to keep back the tears. I had dreaded this moment, keenly aware of the painful memories it would bring back. In some ways, it seemed like just yesterday that we had packed away the Christmas decorations and, in other ways, it was more like an eternity. The past year had certainly brought many changes to our lives. It was now four months since my husband announced he was leaving, and a divorce loomed in the coming year. The hurt was almost unbearable, but with three young children, I hid my tears as often as possible and kept going. Today was one of those days when the tears would have to wait until after they were asleep. As they continued to decorate the tree, I secretly set aside several ornaments, including one that said “Our First Christmas Together.”

Several days later, a knock was heard at the door. As I opened it, our neighbor handed me an ornament. “We’ve hung this ornament on our tree for several years, but this year we wanted you to have it for your tree,” she said. I glanced at the beautiful gold ornament and was surprised to see it spelled the word JOY. I thanked her and hung the ornament on our tree.

As I stood back and looked at the tree, all the other ornaments seemed to fade into the background, and all I saw was the shimmering gold of the JOY ornament. The tears began to fall as I silently thanked God for this reminder. In the midst of grief and heartache, He promises to be with us. God’s presence brings a joy that circumstances cannot take away. Although several ornaments were missing from our tree that year, I realized they would be replaced with new ones. Each ornament would come with a new memory, and the pain of the past would gradually fade.

Many Christmases have passed since that year. God has truly brought much joy into my life. There have been other heartaches along the way, but each year the JOY ornament hangs on our Christmas tree as a reminder of God’s unfailing love.

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