Christmastime on the islands must be intentionally celebrated. Consumerism aside, if you don’t deck your halls and sip hot cocoa in the 70 degree rainstorm, you might just forget the winter holidays are upon us. For the Groves, this means we decorate and festively prepare for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving. Our first Christmas here, JD and I sadly knew we couldn’t afford a real tree (crazy expensive out here) and opted for a tiny Charlie brown fakie for twenty bucks. Coming from homes where the Christmas tree was cut fresh, it was somewhat crushing for us to bring home a tree in a box.
The next year our UCLA island friends brought a tree to our doorstep. That was pretty awesome.
Last year we happily went Charlie brown.
This year we did too.
Until Monday, when our pastor said a tree happened to be on his doorstep and he thought of us. We gladly accepted the fresh, fragrant tree that now fills our living room window.
JD was sort of giddy about this tree, while I admittedly thought about the mess of transferring ornaments and lights. Seeing JD’s smile changed my perspective and I realized that a real tree is perfect in the midst of a hard season.
This morning I got the fully story behind our tree:
A woman whose name I don’t even know, who had never before bought a tree, happened to be at a ranch. A man offered her a perfect tree for $10. She didn’t need the tree, but thought God wanted her to get it. She decided to put it on our pastor’s porch because he would know what to do with it. Pastor Brad instantly thought of us – before knowing how the tree got there – and gave us a ring. JD didn’t hesitate.
When I heard the whole story, tears came to my eyes…
Because our Daddy in Heaven knew we needed a physical reminder of His love. Because this has been a really hard season and God still chooses to be gentle with our hearts. Because as insignificant as it might seem, we needed to know that God is present and loves us and thinks of us even when we’re convinced we’ve fallen off the map. And just like my husband bringing me home flowers from the grocery store on a random afternoon, God gave us a Christmas tree on a Monday in December.