37: Answered Prayer

37: Answered Prayer

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Christmas in Canada

Answered Prayer

The message of Christmas is that the visible material world is bound to the invisible spiritual world.

~Author Unknown

“Lord, what can I do now?” I asked, as I drove home without a Christmas tree for our family.

For weeks our nine-year-old daughter Janelle had been praying for a “real” Christmas tree. She thought the tiny hand-me-down silver tree we usually put up was simply not suitable anymore.

“Mom, our tree is so small — and you’ve said yourself that someone gave it to you, and some day you hope to buy a real one.”

“A real one would be nice,” I agreed, “but we don’t have money for a real tree or the decorations we would need. What would a big beautiful tree look like without an angel to sit on top?”

I had usually put up the tree in late November. I loved the Christmas season and I felt decorating early was a great way to start the festivities — but not this year. Janelle was so sure that God would answer her prayer for a real tree, so we all had to wait.

The days went by and we were not any closer to getting a real tree. We’d had another poor year on the farm and simply could not afford to “waste” money on a real tree, especially since we did have this old one.

“Please help me to find a solution before this hurts Janelle’s fragile faith,” became my prayer. But as the weeks went by I began to wonder if maybe we should try to buy one.

About ten days before Christmas, I went into town to pick up our mail and a few groceries. I couldn’t help stopping by the lumber-yard where a local charity sold real Christmas trees. I just wanted to check out how much they were selling for. I gasped as I came around the corner and saw they only had three trees left. I walked briskly over to them, thinking they must be cheap or damaged to be the only ones left, but I was surprised to see three top-of-the-line trees and they had an out-of-reach price tag to go with them. I walked away knowing we could not afford one of those trees for sure.

That is why I was asking, “What can I do now Lord?”

I prayed as I drove and planned how I would break the news to Janelle. I knew she would be very disappointed and hurt, but we would have to go ahead and put up the little silver tree. Would it be better to have it up when she came home off the bus? Or should I wait, tell her what we needed to do, and let her help me put up the little tree?

Later that afternoon the phone rang. It was our neighbour Ted. We weren’t close, so I figured he must be calling to talk farming with my husband Ken.

“No, you’re just the lady I’m looking for,” he said.

“Oh, really?” I replied.

“First, I’d better ask if you have put up your Christmas tree yet.”

“No, as a matter of fact we haven’t. I know it’s getting late but…”

Ted cut me off with, “Now that my boys are married they wanted a tree for their own places so we went away up north this morning to get ourselves a tree. For some strange reason we ended up with an extra tree and, I wondered… could we give it to you?”

I was speechless. “For some strange reason,” he had said. Could the reason have been a little girl’s prayer?

I stammered as I tried to answer him. “Yes…Yes… sure… we’d love to have a real tree….” I was sure Ted would hear my heart pounding.

“You don’t owe us a thing,” he continued. “As I said, I don’t know how we ended up with the extra tree, but you are welcome to have it. I’ll drop it off in a bit.”

I got off the phone shaking my head. How could Ted have possibly known? We hadn’t told anyone, and we didn’t know him well enough. He’d never been in our home to see our “little” tree. Only a God who truly cares about the little and big things in life could have arranged for Ted to get an extra tree, and then put it in his heart to call and offer it to us.

That day, as the bus pulled into the yard, there was one very excited little girl when she saw a “real tree” in our yard, ready to be pushed, pulled, and eventually cut down to fit into our house. It didn’t matter that our decorations weren’t the greatest, lights were nonexistent, and there was no angel for the top. After all, a “real Christmas tree” was what she had prayed for, and wasn’t having a tree that had truly been delivered by angels better than having one at the top of the tree?

~Annie Riess

Unity, Saskatchewan

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