Tuesday, December 22, 2015 

We know that God makes all things work together for good for those 

who love God and are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 

When I was a child one of my favorite pre-Christmas activities was getting the tree. I lived in a very small, then-rural town in southern New Jersey with no place to buy a tree. So each year my father, my brother, and I had the tree expedition: we drove half an hour to my uncle’s property where an old quarry was now covered with pine trees. In my memory it is always cold and there is snow on the ground, so we are bundled up in coats, hats, mittens, and boots, as we search for that one perfect tree meant for us. My father was very patient; while he might suggest that we look at this tree or that, the decision belonged to my brother and me alone. We tramped through the cold until we finally agreed on the tree, a tree full, closely branched, with no empty spaces. My father dragged the tree back to the car. On the way to the car he always cut a second tree, “so your mother can have some greens to decorate the house.”

It was only years later as an adult that I learned the rest of the story. Evidently my brother and I were not as talented at picking out the perfect tree as I had always believed. When we got home and were safely tucked into bed, my father would drill holes into the empty spaces of the trunk of our tree and fill those holes with thick branches cut from the second tree he had brought home. We never knew. It still makes me smile to think of my father doing that so that we would have the two things we most wanted: a tree that was beautifully shaped and one that we had chosen ourselves.

Now I think of that as a metaphor for my heavenly Father. God has given me freedom to make decisions in my life. No matter how hard I try to make good decisions, there are many times when my decisions are less than the best, and it comforts me to know that God is working behind the scenes to redeem the situation, to make things work together for good.

Pat MacNicoll

Prayer: God, you are a God who redeems, not just once but over and over and over. I am so thankful that you love us so much that you bring good out of our mistakes. Amen.