I learned a lesson this holiday season that is helping to reshape my mind and heart. As we prepare to turn the page on a new year, I want to share a recent incident that has brought comfort as I continue to trust God for what He has in store for us in 2012.
“Please, not last year’s Christmas tree,” said our girls when we began to see the Christmas tree lots around the neighborhood.
Unfortunately, not only did Melissa and Elizabeth remember the miniature, artificial tree that we brought to the house last Christmas but so did their friends. “Remember that sad tree your family got last year, I hope you guys won’t repeat that again,” sighed a friend of Elizabeth over the telephone when she asked about our holiday preparations in Idaho.
So as this year’s Christmas season approached, we meandered to a local store that was selling beautiful, fresh cut Douglas and Noble Fir Christmas trees. Our eyes were mesmerized and the scent the trees projected as we paced through the rows and rows of stunning trees gave us goose bumps of holiday magic. A particular 8 foot Noble Fir stunned our senses and we were enamored right away. As we dared inspect the tree and its foliage, a family came over to us and showed us a store coupon. “Look, all trees are $5 off if you buy it this weekend,” said the mother with a grin. I thanked her for sharing the savvy discount with us and off went the family discussion. “Let’s get the tree, pretty please,” said our youngest daughter.
As the excitement in our girls’ faces was as bright as Rudolph’s nose, Tony and I looked at each other and walked the tree over to the counter where the sales clerk waited to scan it. We felt uneasy about buying the tree and even the stand that necessitated its purchase. As we drove home, the girls were ecstatic and now Christmas could commence. The two of us had mixed feelings but as parents we couldn't resist the joy the beautiful Christmas tree provided.
Then the unexpected happened. As we entered the house, we opened that day's mail and behind the store ads was an envelope that included a rebate check that would cover the entire cost of the tree and its decorations. You can just imagine the smile on our face when we realized the Lord had just blessed us.. Not only Tony and I but our girls since they had just hand picked the best 8 foot Noble Fir we had ever laid our eyes upon. As Tony and I attributed the Lord’s goodness in such an amazing way, we brought everyone together and prayed. Our simple prayer was just, “Lord, thank you for providing us with such a beautiful Christmas tree. Even though we don’t deserve your goodness, you have still chosen to give us an incredible gift. Thank you, Jesus. Amen.” The Lord’s provision filled our family’s hearts with gratitude that afternoon. I am humbled He knew the longing of our hearts and provided in every way.
So on this last day of 2011, I turn to 1Corinthians 1:31, “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” It is with this verse that I want to conclude. As sojourners passing through, all glory and praise goes to our Heavenly Father who holds the future and whose kindness never ceases.