It's been more than a few years since we've purchased a real Christmas tree. Jimmy's parents had given us their artificial tree when Madi was little, and it carried us through about five years. Last year, the tree was on it's last limb, so we decided it was time to toss it. Could there be a more perfect season to venture back to a real tree than Joseph's first Christmas at home? I think not.
The Holy Spirit told me where to buy our Christmas tree this year. I know that sounds crazy to some of you, but it's true...He did. The lot we'd faithfully supported in the past had been gone for years, since the land had been built upon. But in the last week, I noticed a particular lot that I hadn't spotted before--a tent located in a grassy spot at a nearby church. Of all the places selling trees, I truly felt compelled to go to this particular place...even when forewarned by friends that Home Depot, Costco, and BJ's would have much less expensive trees. Something was telling me to go there....I needed to experience the Christmas spirit in it all, and what better way than to support a tree vendor that would help support a church?
So we packed ourselves in the car after dinner and headed over. It had been raining most of the afternoon, so it was no surprise that the lot was empty when we arrived. The comforting scent of Frasier Fir that I'd longed for nearly knocked me over when I entered that tent. Oh how I've missed the smell of real Christmas trees!
The second we walked in, a familiar feeling came over me. Lo and behold, it was the vendor that we'd supported from the past--they had found a new location! I told them how we'd ended up there, and then they informed me that all of their trees had been blessed by the church's pastor! Now that's what I call a Christmas bonus!
Tammie, the lot manager, asked who the youngest in the group was, and then she presented Charlie with a bell to ring once we'd selected our tree. That way, Santa would know exactly which one was ours. They loved that this was Joseph's first Christmas in the U.S.A. and took delight in watching him run through the trees hiding from us.
Madi and Jimmy spotted the perfect tree rather quickly. Too quickly for my liking, as I wanted to savor the experience of the hunt. But I did manage to sway them away from their find momentarily to cross to the other side of the lot for a photo op.
But then...they were right back at tree number one. And who could deny them? It was a beautiful tree! The boys rang the special bell that Charlie had been given, and Reggie came to prepare it for us. He chopped off a cross section of the trunk, and gave it to us as a memento so we can make a special tree ornament to remember Joseph's very first Christmas tree!
As we settled up and patiently waited for our new prize to be loaded up, I began to chat with Tammie some more. She had taken a picture of the kids, and told me that she would post it to their Facebook page. We laughed at the fact that we are both technically challenged in many ways, but we both shared a liking for Facebook. I mentioned to her that I have a page. Then she mentioned that she has a page, too...about her son...who'd passed away.
And there it was.
I knew, right then, that the Holy Spirit had connected us, and I knew exactly why we were meant to be at that lot. Two moms, with sons in Heaven, sharing our common faith and living the rest of our lives trying to honor our angels--those gifts from God who will always live in our hearts. We shared, briefly, about our boys, and then we exchanged a great big hug. I'd say it was a pretty magical night.