That year our friends started their You-Pick Christmas Tree enterprise. “Sounds like a good deal,” I told my husband. “Plus, we get to spend an afternoon with friends.”
Life is rarely that simple.
With temperatures in single digits, we sucked in courage and went to our friends’ country home. Kerry led the way into the woods then pointed up at the towering pines. “Don’t worry how high the tree is. Once it’s cut down, we’ll trim from the top.”
We traipsed the woods for over an hour. There it is! “That’s the tree I want!” I would have jumped for joy if the three feet of snow hadn’t pinned me down.
Kerry chopped the tree down, shortening it at the spot I thought would work. Eying its long green needles, I imagined how beautiful it would look in just a few days.
My husband clicked with worry. “I doubt I can even get it on top of the car.” When my eyes filled with tears, he gave my hand a reassuring squeeze. “We’ll figure something out.” Half an hour later, exhausted but exhilarated, we dropped the tree by the station wagon. Our daughter gazed in wonder at the Goliath. “Even if we get it home, we won’t be able to get it into the house.”
Looking for a glimmer of hope, I found comfort in my husband’s solidarity. “You just let me worry about that.” Using every bungee cord in his toolbox, he secured the tree and ordered us to get into the car.
When we arrived home, my husband took charge. “John, get my saw. If I lop off a few of these bottom branches and trim the trunk, it’ll slide through the door without taking off the hinges.”
An hour later, I brought my husband a warm cup of coffee. He took a sip and shook his head. “I love you,” he said. Translated, he meant, “You’re nuts, woman.”
Once, inside and after several more height adjustments, he hoisted it into the stand, and it toppled over. My valiant knight secured the tree with yards of strong twine. Like a maniacal marionette without a puppeteer, it swallowed the entire dining room. Over the next few days, we adorned our misshapen treasure with lights and ornaments and ate our meals on TV trays.
On Christmas Eve, the miracle happened.
We piled the presents under what now had been dubbed, The Beast. Our daughter scanned the tree with interest. “Can we sing Christmas carols?” My husband nodded and grabbed the guitar while Edie turned off the house lights.
During Silent Night, suddenly all seemed miraculously calm and bright. With its broad branches, the tree exuded a halo affect, adding angelic chords to our rendition. We could almost see the shepherds as they knelt in wonder at the Savior’s birth. And in that moment, the meaning of Christmas burned in our hearts as never before. The ugliest tree I had ever seen transformed before our eyes, a beautiful emblem of love and hope.
I was reminded how God transforms our lives when we give over our regrets, confess our sin, and ask him to fill us again.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17).