It is Christmas time again and let me first say Merry Christmas to all of my friends. I hope and pray that you have a wonderful holiday season and that you are all richly blessed. 2010 has been a difficult and painful year in many ways yet a very blessed one all the same. My family and I have been through a lot and have learned a lot. We still have a long way to go but with God's help and friends support we will reach the finish line.
We look forward to the year ahead as we say goodbye the this year and all of it's trials and blessings. In 2011 we anticipate the return of our son Nathan from over seas and the wedding of our oldest daughter Amber. All still months off but the excitement and anticipation is already building.
There are some obstacles in the weeks and months ahead and we do not know what we may have to face but we are standing firm. We know from past experience that God will take our hand and guide us through what ever the year ahead brings. We hope for the best year ever and many blessings for us and for all of you.
One thing that has been in short supply is money and with the early arrival of winter is has been even more evident. Christmas is going to be old fashioned this year to say the least. A message from Nathan, some friends and family, a good holiday meal and a few small gifts for the children are all we are hoping for. Hearing from Nate is most important and most unsure at this point. We are not sure where he is, so we pray for him, and all the service members over seas and for all their safe returns.
Due to the struggles of 2010 we almost did not get a tree. My wife and I were not too troubled by this but out 13 year old daughter was. That made me feel differently and I had no idea what to do so I ask God to help. I was not sure what to do and I waited and He came through, as He always does. Sometimes we have to wait and sometimes things do not turn out our way but He is always faithful and always sees us through.
Deborah was the answer to the question and to the prayer this time. (As she often is for me.) She was making a rice bag for a friend and had gotten some money for supplies and material to make it. When she left her friends house she when and bought the supplies needed and found there was some money left. It had been agreed upon that since this rice bag was for free and not for sale so any money left over from supplies was Deb's.
On the way home Deb stopped by a Salvation Army thrift store just to see if there were by chance any artificial trees there for sale. She found one tucked away in a corner. It had a run over by a truck look to it and seemed hardly worth any money or time. Still she felt that she should get it. “It had a lot of potential.” she said. I was not sure how it would turn out but we had a tree. Our miracle tree. Our “Tree Of Grace.” I am amazed at how it all came to pass from start to finish.
It started with a poem that turned into a prayer that turned into a little girl's answer to prayer. It makes the struggles worth it all when the amazing and miraculous results come about. The tree ended up being a very nice artificial tree that was once a beautiful holiday treasure only to be injured and mistreated and ultimately discarded. Only to be rescued by someone who saw the potential. Now it is once again what it was meant to be. A magnificent symbol of grace.
We worked hard undoing scrunched up and bent over branches but in the end it was a work of love and tenderness that paid off. Just like Charlie Browns tree, ours was transformed from an ugly damaged thing to a beautiful work of our Father’s art. Wow!!!! Breathtaking!!! We are all so thankful for this blessing and this symbol that has been placed in our lives when it was beyond our means. Grace and mercy for today, hope for tomorrow. A child's and her families Christmas tree of grace from God. I am so blessed to be a part of it all. May you be blessed as this year ends and the new one begins. May your dreams all come true and when they don't may you see the blessing even in that. Good always comes around if you wait. Happy Holidays to all.
photos by; asa