As Published December 13, 2017, Times Villager, Kaukauna WI

God reached high up into the heavens and chose a very special seed. He breathed life into it, filled it with hope and sent it down to earth on a very gentle breeze. He had chosen the exact place where it was to grow to fulfill its intended purpose at just the right time. The wind carried the tiny seed into a small patch of earth in the corner of a small yard. It nestled into the earth and waited. It warmed the soil around it and was bursting with life, but it was not time for the little seed, so it remained evergreen and filled with hope there in its chosen place.

A small family lived in the house in front of the yard in the chosen place where the seed waited. A busy little girl played, a mother laughed, and a father proudly tended the yard watching over them. God smiled down on the little family.

The little seed waited patiently until one spring it would wait no more. God reached down from heaven and helped it burst through the earth to greet sunlight for the very first time. It grew greener and stronger with each new day. No one noticed the tiny green sprout, but it was evergreen and filled with hope, expectantly awaiting the perfect time to fulfill its purpose.

As the warm summer sun beat down on the little sprout, it began to grow branches and reach a little taller. The little girl played near it and the father tended the yard around it, never giving the tiny tree a thought.

As summer gave way to fall, the trees and bushes around the little sprout began to shed life. Winter came and a great sadness fell over the little family. The sadness overtook them and the little girl didn’t play, the father didn’t tend the yard, and the mother didn’t laugh. God looked down on the family and grieved with them.

The tiny sprout now looked like a little Christmas tree and it continued to grow in the small patch of earth in the corner of the small yard behind the house where the family lived in great sadness. It was evergreen and filled with hope, waiting.

The mother blankly stared out the window and cried. She noticed something green in the corner of the yard, but gave a heavy sigh and turned slowly from the window in despair. It was not time.

God kept His hand on the little family and guided them every day. The little tree waited patiently, evergreen and filled with hope.

In the middle of the bleak, harshness of winter, Christmas came. A time that usually filled the family with joy and happiness became a time of terrible loneliness and a reminder of their broken hearts. A huge Christmas tree was brought into the house and decorated, but in the midst of the great sadness even it looked lifeless and dead.

The seasons came and went and in the middle of winter right before another Christmas, God sent a beautiful snowfall, blanketing the earth with a carpet of white, bringing the kind of peace that can only come from heaven.

On Christmas morning, the mother sat rocking by the window and noticed the sun shining on something green in the corner of the yard. She felt drawn to the tiny little tree that stood strong and proud in the snow around it. She asked the father, “That is funny, have you ever noticed that little Christmas tree in the corner of the yard?” He looked over her shoulder and said, “That is just a little evergreen, it has always been there.”

The little tree had waited and waited and the chosen time had finally come. The mother dressed and hurried out to the small patch of earth in the corner of the yard where the little Christmas tree seemed to reach out to greet her. As she bent down to touch it, her tears fell onto its branches, sparkling in the sunlight. She reached toward the strong green branches and as they met her hand, her heart was instantly filled with hope – the kind of hope that can only come from heaven. For the first time in years she felt peace in her heart and she went back in the house feeling strangely comforted. God watched from above and smiled. The little Christmas tree was evergreen and had finally fulfilled its purpose – to deliver God’s message of Hope.

Each morning, the mother watched the little tree. She noticed how the warmth of its roots melted the snow around it. She smiled as small birds landed on fragrant branches to sing their sweet morning songs. And it seemed to her that the moments she pondered the little tree, though brief, were always filled with Hope.

As spring came, the little tree began to bud, bursting with new life. The mother watched its branches stretch and reach upward to meet the morning sky. The little girl ran and played near it. The father tended the yard around it and once in awhile the mother even laughed. The message of Hope it carried spread from its branches into the hearts of the little family.

Even though the sadness was still great, there were moments when the promise of new life was greater. As the little Christmas tree grew, it became a symbol of strength and Hope for the little family.

Seasons came and went and the busy little girl and her brothers and sisters played around the little tree. The mother laughed and the father tended the yard watching over his precious family. Every year at Christmas time, they decorated the little tree with sparkling teardrop ornaments. It reminded them of the time of great sadness and also gave them a reason to rejoice.

And up in heaven, God smiled. For He knew when He filled that little seed with Hope all those years ago and sent it to that little patch of earth, in the corner of the small yard, in the house where the little family lived, that on one chosen Christmas morning, the little Christmas tree would be ready to fulfill His plans and purposes. At that very moment, the little Christmas tree was exactly what the mother needed to remind her that God was with her and only in Him could she find eternal Hope.

For even in the harshness and death of winter, in the midst of great sadness, He is evergreen and filled with Hope.

I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and pray and I will hear you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all of your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13