I took all the ornaments off our Christmas tree yesterday. I find it somewhat sad, because the Christmas tree and the season of Christmas is a time of year that I enjoy a great deal. However, I do discover that I take much more time to examine my ornaments when taking them down versus putting them up. I am in such a hurry to get the tree decorated, that it’s more about getting it done, than about sentimentality.
As I laid the ornaments on my dining room table, preparing them to be wrapped and stored, memories came flooding back. There was the “My First ‘Kissmas” ornament, given to my husband and me from my mother-in-law, Sally, after we first got married. It reminds me of Sally, who I loved dearly. She passed away in 1993 after a battle with lymphoma cancer. There is the stork ornament I was given by my husband when I was pregnant with our first child. Other ornaments remind me of places we lived or visited over the years. The many crosses I put on the tree represent why we celebrate Christmas in the first place.
I also noticed we have more redbird ornaments than I realized. While I was Christmas shopping this year, it seems the redbird was predominant everywhere; on candles, Christmas plates, and ornaments. It was as if God was telling me to make note of the redbird.
The redbird carries great significance for a young friend of mine, as her mother told her on her deathbed to not worry about her passing, for she would come back to see her as a redbird. While Christians do not believe in reincarnation, I do believe God comforts those who mourn and that sending a redbird to the grieving person does not seem out of the realm of possibility. Interestingly enough, when her mother was in hospice, my friend told me a redbird was perched on the window sill through most of her mother’s final hours. Since her mother’s death, numerous redbirds have visited my friend, providing comfort.
Before Christmas, I told myself I must look up the meaning of the redbird. What does it symbolize for us Christians? It took me until the New Year to do it, but here it is, straight off my internet research! “The red bird, or red cardinal, specifically, has become a symbol of beauty and warmth of the holiday season. A glimpse of this brilliant bird brings cheer, hope and inspiration on a gray, wintry day. As nature’s reminder for us to focus on our faith, the cardinal’s scarlet plumage represents the blood of Christ shed for the redemption of mankind.”
Now I understand why it seemed God was tapping me on the shoulder before Christmas, almost saying, “Don’t forget the red bird” as I bustled around shopping frantically. In reality, He was saying, “Lisa, don’t forget what this season is all about. It’s also about my Son and your Savior, Jesus Christ and the sacrifice he made for you.” A good reminder. In fact, I might just go and unwrap one of those redbird ornaments and display it all year long.