arts, movies, music, pop culture · faith

on newness and pine trees – an advent story

Nothing says Christmas like the fresh pine tree in the living room. My girls, ages 3 and 19 months, are both perplexed by it and thrilled by it. The lights – well half the lights, because we ran out of lights and haven’t had a chance to buy more yet – are mesmerizing to their little minds and my girls fittingly call them stars.

It’s a pretty tree. It’s in a perfect place in the house. Since the day we moved into this sweet little rental, I have pictured in my head where the tree will go. There’s a bay window in the living room and the ceilings are lofted up to the second floor. I’ve always wanted a house like the one we’re in now. And I could easily weep for joy if I let it all sink in.

Sometimes I do. Sometimes, like when my girls are hopping and walking around the living room furniture, singing and laughing, I can’t help but let some tears escape my eyes. God is so good. A year ago, God was good. Two years ago, God was still good. But it’s harder to feel that at times, isn’t it? 2015 was hard. 2014 was harder. So many things, too many to name, and not worth the time. We look back to see where Jesus was carrying us, but we look forward now to remind ourselves that we didn’t know then what we know now. We didn’t know what would be, but we believed.

And now, just six months in this space we call home, we are so grateful. We are so grateful for the space to put a tree. We are so grateful to have work that blesses our hearts maybe even more than the hearts of others. We are grateful for the hope we felt, even in the tiniest glimmers, come to fruition in many ways this year. We are so grateful.

I was reminded again of how God works at the tree stand. We waited for the men to tie up the tree and a woman came over to talk with me. She asked if I was korean. She was too. And her daughter came over, holding a little one, a few months younger than our littlest. We got to talking and she asked if we could get together. It reminded me that there’s no such thing as chance and that we can see new things around every corner. New things give us hope and lighten our burdens. New things make us feel alive. New things spruce up the dreariest of days and, like a fresh pine tree in the room, smell sweet and full of cheer, the evergreen, not giving up even in the coldest of winter darks. I pray you find many new things this season.

God is good. God gave us pine trees.

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