Rejoice in the LORD, ye righteous; and give thanks at the
remembrance of his holiness.
-- Psalm 97:12
I love to tell the story about my first Christmas following the crisis in October 2008. Because my husband was still addicted and angry back then, I felt compelled to moved from our home. I wanted to provide a safe place for our youngest son. The decision to move seemed to further upset my husband. So, on the day of the move, I packed as quickly as possible. I found myself mostly taking necessities. In fact, the only nostalgic item I took with me into the new apartment were some old Christmas decorations I had purchased prior to marrying my husband.
After unpacking, I noticed how little little furniture we had. I needed something to make the cold apartment feel warm. Garland and little white lights decorated the empty spaces and soon the apartment began to feel like a home. Still, I was craving the tradition of putting up a Christmas tree. I was certain the tree would fill the left over empty space in our living room and lift my spirits.
So, I drove over to a local Christmas tree farm in search of an inexpensive Christmas tree. While trying to keep my chin up, I told the owner my heartbreaking story. As a result, the gentleman was willing to discount any tree on the lot. Moved to tears, I shared my deepest gratitude. He asked, "How are you going to get the tree to your home?" With tears still rolling down my cheeks, I pointed at my small car. The man immediately offered to transport the tree to our apartment for me at no charge. I replied, "You have done so much already!" But, he insisted.
Once back at our new home, the man carefully carried the tree inside. As I watched his gentleness and concern with each branch, I couldn't help but question why he cared so much about a Christmas tree. He even apologized after noticing that one small branch had bent. With his care and concern, one would have thought the man had just broken the branch of the tree Jesus would suffer upon. I was moved by his generosity and gentle spirit. As a result of the experience, I found myself telling others about what God had done for me through the simple gift of a Christmas Tree.
The surprising ending to this story is that this Christmas tree farm has not existed since December 2008. I still wonder today, if God had placed that man there just for me!