Bobby and David own a large Christmas tree farm up in Virginia. But this year hasn't been very good for Christmas trees. For one, the two feet of snow they had last week made it nearly impossible to get into the fields to cut any. Also, the economy is not so great in their area and instead of 300 workers available to haul trees, they only had 40 this year. Finally, they couldn't afford to shape and trim all the trees this year, which meant they had about 10,000 they couldn't sell. Not trimming and shaping a tree makes it a "semi natural" tree, not suitable for public display or fancy decorating.
I didn't have a tree and if I had had one, I wouldn't have anyone to bring it in or put it up. But I knew David and Bobby from some work they had done for us, and they said they had some extra ones, so I asked them if they could at least bring one over, and when my family arrived they could get it put up.
Not only did Bobby and David bring me a tree (which they cut down that morning) but they put the stand on it, helped me put lights on in the driveway, and took it in the house, making sure it was set up straight, steady and stationary!
When I asked them how much I owed them, David quickly said, "Nothing. Merry Christmas." I said no no no, you can't do that. David's response was yes we can. I insisted and handed them $100 and David said, "Nope, just put it in the collection plate at your church."
Like the widow's offering in the gospel of Mark, David and Bobby gave out of their hardship and seemed to be so happy to be able to do it. Like Santa, as they drove out of the driveway, they waved out the window yelling, "Merry Christmas!"
Every time I look at the tree I see their kindness. It is huge and wild looking, but strong and fresh...such a precious Christ-
like gift. Simple story, I know, but full of love.