Our Christmas tree isn't pretty by many standards. It's not perfect. The ornaments on it are a hodge-podge that have be collected for over 30 years. Tonight as we put it up and decorated together as a family I thought about this tradition of a Christmas tree. It's not really the most religious of the Christmas traditions. I know the thought that Luther started the tradition but really, a tree in the living room doesn't have much to do with our Savior-baby in a manger. That said, it's one of my favorite traditions. For as long as I can remember I've loved putting up the tree. It truly is one of my favorite nights of the year. Now as I shared the tradition with my own children it's even more special to me. As I opened the ornament box and handed things to my kids to be hung on our tree I took the time to remember each ornament. Each one has a story that was shared aloud tonight. Nathan and I both had grandparents who gave us an ornament each Christmas so there are many of those, there are some apple ones from Nathan's teaching, there is a soldier bear from the year Nathan was on active duty, each of the kids hung ones that say "Baby's 1st Christmas." There are special gifts from friends far away in years and miles, there was the one I got from my kindergarten teacher 25 years ago and the one Evan got from his last year There are several from a Christmas wedding shower thrown for us. There is one from our first Christmas in our first house. There is one with a picture of our college, and even a section of paper chain Nathan made for me when I was counting down days till Christmas 9 years ago. There are memories in each ornament that hangs from our tree. But even more there are blessing. Our tree is a blazing picture of a blessed life. We have been loved by grandparents, parents, and friends who have given us tokens to remember that, we have been blessed with schools and learning, we have a home, we have three precious children, we have a strong marriage, we have a Savior. That's what hangs on that tree. Those little ornaments, tokens from the past, are little reminders of blessings every day. That's what makes it the most beautiful tree to me.