by Russ Towne © 2010
At the top of our Christmas tree each year proudly sits an unusual star. It is made out of cardboard and covered with aluminum foil and tape. The star is kind of lopsided with each of its points a little different in size and shape. It is simple, modest, and hand-made. It’s showing its age. Over the years even more foil and tape have been added to repair it.
In some ways, the star doesn’t really fit the rest of the tree with all of its bright ornaments. My wife and our children have suggested many times over the years that we throw it out and buy something else for the top of our tree.
I understand why they’ve wanted a much prettier ornament to top our tree, but to me it is the most beautiful and fitting one for the most honored spot on the tree.
When I was about 20 years old and still single, I owned a business that was failing. I was in debt, and the business wasn’t producing income. That Christmas was a very modest one for me. I was only able to afford a small tree and a few ornaments for it.
The young lady I was dating at the time asked me why there was no ornament at the top of the tree. I admitted that I couldn’t afford one. So she made one for me out of cardboard, aluminum foil and tape. It was new, shiny, and beautiful to me.
A year or so later that young lady became my wife. By then my business had failed. We had no money. (To this day, I still sometimes joke to her that she married me for my money.)
Things were so challenging for us financially that for a couple of years we didn’t even have a bed. We slept in a double-wide sleeping bag on top of a comforter on the floor.
The star has stayed with us through thick and thin over the years. In the good years it reminded us of our humble beginnings and how little we truly need when we have the love and health of our family.
In the leaner years it has reminded us of the adversities that we’ve overcome together, and that our love will always outlast the hard times.
To me that star is a fitting symbol of our long-lasting love, imperfections and all.
Most of all, that star reminds me of the many ways that the young woman who became my wife has made my life immeasurably better.