As a writer, words have so much meaning to me, but one of the most powerful words is a simple one: Christmas. That one word has the power to evoke so many memories, from taste, to smell, to sounds, to feelings. Almost everyone has Christmas traditions, whether it’s attending a special church service, donating time or money to charities, decorating the house, baking treats, braving the malls, or simply taking the day off of work and spending time with loved ones.

My husband and I started a tradition when we first married. Each year we’ve decorated a Christmas tree together. The first year, we each hung an ornament from our childhood trees, along with a “first Christmas together” ornament, representing our two separate lives coming together. Since then, we’ve added to the tree with special ornaments representing that year. Some years were more somber than others – an American flag represented 2001, and this year, yes, we actually bought a virus ornament. Other years, the ornaments marked special events in our lives, such as buying our house or the birth of our children. Some years we have ornaments from special places we’ve traveled, or a championship win by a favorite sports team. This year I’m hanging an author ornament to commemorate my publishing debut.

Each December, I add a few sentences to a book containing our ornament story. I read the description of the year, and we all take turns placing the ornaments on the tree. Our family takes this time together to remember, both the treasured memories and the difficult ones. It brings us together, and sets the tone for the season to come, for no matter what happens in the future, we always have our memories of the past.

For us, Christmas is about family, but more importantly, it is about taking time to celebrate the greatest gift of all, God’s amazing gift to us in His Son, Jesus. We are blessed beyond measure by His goodness, so each year on Christmas morning, we take time to open His Word, before opening any presents, and remember that night so long ago when hope entered the world.

I wouldn’t call my debut novel, Following the Sparrows, a Christmas story, but I do have an unusual Christmas tree decorating scene! If you’re interested to read more, you can find it at https://amzn.to/3jvQNNE.

Merry Christmas to all!

Karen Malley

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