The Christmas Tree

A true story by Gloria Swain


December 1993, Christmas was fast approaching. It was the 23rd of December and here was I, a single mom trying to make the best Christmas possible for my son David.

I had just left the grocery store after purchasing our Christmas groceries. The Christmas tree had yet to be purchased, brought home & decorated. It had to be a real tree, which was a Christmas tradition in our home all through the years.

As I pulled my car into the tree lot my heart sank as I looked at the prices of trees listed on a wooden board. Surely they can’t want fifty dollars for a tree this late in the Christmas season. Getting out of the car I approached the lot attendant and asked him what kind of a tree I could purchase with the twenty-three dollars I had left. “Nothing for you here at that price,” was the answer.

Well here it was two days before Christmas, a lot full of trees and the lot attendant telling me I could not have a tree because their biggest selling days were just ahead. Hard to believe. So I slowly dragged my feet back to my car. Another tree lot a few blocks up the road revealed the same story. No bargains here, no trees for twenty-three dollars.

What was I to do. How could I go home and tell David we were not going to have a tree that year. Tears began to well up in my eyes. I had to stop the car on a side street, as I could not see the road through all my tears. As I sat in my vehicle, I proceeded to tell God all about the good things I had done for him that year, so how could he abandon me now when I needed him most. After my cry and my long talk with God, I dried my tears and headed the car homeward, not knowing what to do about a tree.

As I approached my street for some unknown reason my card headed down our back alley, something which I never did when I had groceries to unload. Almost immediately in front of me just two doors down from our house was a Christmas tree sitting right in the middle of the back alley. I had to slam on the car brakes to keep myself from running over it. I jumped out of the car to inspect this tree for I could not believe my eyes. On the tree was a white tag and it read “free tree”. I could not believe it! Tears welled up in me. Looking around I tried to figure out where the tree came from. Following the footprints in the snow, holding the tree with tears streaming down my face, I ring the doorbell of a home a few doors away. An elderly gentleman answers the door and I throw myself at him sobbing. He tells me this story.

Three days ago he was at his farm chopping down two trees for his family like he normally did every Christmas. As he was leaving the farm something compelled him to go and chop down a third three. He didn’t know why he or who he was chopping the tree down for. But he did and brought it home. Not knowing what to do with it he stuck it out in the back alley hoping someone would need it. Drying my tears and thanking this total stranger I left his yard dragging the most precious Christmas tree I had ever seen. I ran into the house screaming to David “look at the tree God gave us”. It was the best Christmas tree we ever had. For it was a miracle supplied by God.

To this very day I still have the white tag off that tree, “free tree”. And in my heart I know God cares so much about each one of us that he even cares whether or not we have a Christmas tree.