One of my favorite Christmas traditions is having a Christmas tree. When I lived in California, the only thing that I asked for Christmas was Christmas ornaments so I could decorate a small tree (I actually ended up getting a brand new car that Christmas too, but that’s another story). I still have the ornaments that were given to me that year, and remember them fondly as I decorate our tree each year. There are many other ornaments that have sentimental value, like the moose ornament my old boss got me because I love moose, and the Pocahontas and John Smith ornaments that I have from the neighbors that lived behind us growing up (each Christmas my brother and I were allowed to go choose an ornament and those were ours one year). Then there is the chiuaua in a stocking that my cousin Kim got me that resembled Bella, and the two chiuaua ornaments that Mike got me right before we started dating.
This year we put up our tree the weekend of Thanksgiving, but within two weeks the branches had all drooped. I had a hard time looking at it, and last week I went as far as taking all the decorations off and putting them back on it hopes that it would help the limbs go back to normal. Nope. If anything it got worse. Last Friday I just couldn’t look at the tree anymore. When Mike’s mom comes over and says “your tree looks terrible”, well it’was that bad. With 30 people coming over on Christmas Eve I had three options:
1- suck it up and try to keep my mind off the fact that everyone who came over would be thinking how bad the tree looked.
2- just throw the tree away, and not have one for Christmas this year, or
3- email the store and just see what would happen.
So I decided to just email the store and see what would happen. Within a couple hours I was told that if I could bring in the receipt they would either reimburse me or give me a
new tree, but there were only a few trees left. So at 10am, I woke up my husband, and said Come on we gotta get to the store, they are giving us a new tree! He wasn’t thrilled about this especially since I didn’t have a receipt, I just knew they could look up the transaction.
As I was explaining to the customer service woman my situation with the tree she asked Are you Mike’s wife? I went to school with him. Don’t worry about it, here I will just issue you a store credit. That was easy.
Then we go to pick out our tree, but all the trees left were larger and more expensive than the one we had gotten credit for. I told myself I wasn’t going to walk out paying anymore for the tree. So I asked how much the trees were and the sales man told me $55, but he would give them to me for $42.99 plus tax. That was still more than I had paid. I told him what our credit was for, and the guy told us he would take it and we could pick out any tree we wanted from the 6-7 trees that were left on the lot.
He sees the desires of your heart.
So we chose a new tree. One that was larger and more beautiful than the first one. Mike’s mom came over that night along with his cousin, and his cousin’s friend, and we had a wonderful evening decorating the tree, and making and eating Christmas cookies.
Now, I know that Christmas is not about decorating a tree. But God knew the desires of my heart, and how important the tree was to me. So, this was a gift from my heavenly Father to let me know that He sees the desires of my heart.
What are the desires of your heart? The true desires of your heart. Because He sees beneath the desires of tradition, to the depth of your heart. He knows the passions that you have been holding, because He placed them there.
Each year, Mike and I take time to decide 4 things that we are going to pray for in the coming year. We do this as a family, and both individually as well. These are the desires of our heart. Sometimes they are specific, and sometimes they are general. Sometimes they are big prayers, and sometimes they seem small.
His word is true. It always has been, it always will be.
This year, one of my prayers was that I would be highly expectant. It is a word that I feel like God gave me for the year 2017, and it is a word that has been on the forefront of my mind and prayers as He has exceeded any expectations I could have ever had. This year began with me unsure of what was ahead, and I could never have imagined the road that I have been on since. But it has been good… great actually, because His plans are good and He is good.
The road this year hasn’t always been easy, this week has been especially hard, and each day I am finding myself needing to cling to Him and continually remind myself of His faithfulness and that His word has been true. And it is, it always has been, and it always will be.
Over the next couple days, Mike and I will be taking the time to reflect on His faithfulness over the past year, and make our prayer list for the year. I encourage you to get your journal out and do the same. The year ahead is a blank page… how do you want to Lord to fill it?