Every family has favorite Christmas tales; not the ones that you love to read, but the ones that you remember and repeat year after year. The ones that make you laugh – or perhaps cringe – every time you think about them. The following story happened to us a couple of years ago. I wrote about it then but it never made it’s way onto my blog. Since it’s one of our “oft-repeated-tales” I wanted to share it with you. It’s a classic! Enjoy!
It was that time of year – the time to go out in search of the perfect Christmas tree. We are “real” tree people, though you’ll probably never find me out in the woods looking to cut one down. I want a real tree; I just don’t want to be cold. This year, we found ourselves at a major garden center with beautifully groomed trees hanging from the ceiling. We were looking for a five, possibly six-foot tree and within a few minutes found just the right one. Even though our tree was marked as a five-foot tree, it looked to be on the tall end of five-feet. I was actually concerned that it might be a bit too short for our space but my husband assured me that “they get bigger when you get them home.”
We gave the sales clerk our name, told him which tree we wanted, and while he wrapped and tagged the tree we went and paid for our purchase. Perfect. We then drove our van around to the “pick-up gate,” the clerk tied the tree to the top of our car and we were headed home. It was all very quick and efficient even if it didn’t shout “Currier and Ives.”
Thirty minutes later when my husband pulled the tree off the van he mentioned that the once five-foot tree was about two feet taller than he is, making it nearly eight-feet tall. I guess he was right about them getting bigger once you get them home! I have to admit that I thought he was exaggerating on the height until we tried to stand it up inside our house. That was NOT going to happen.
Back out the door went the tree and out came the hand saw. A few minutes later we were back in the tree decorating business with a beautiful, yet very wide tree, sitting in our living room. I guess I’d never thought about the fact that trees get wider as they grow taller. As I pulled out the lights, my husband went back outside to clean up the mess created from the whole tree-redesign situation. He came back in a few minutes later carrying a name tag; THE name tag that had been placed on our tree. Well, not OUR tree technically, but the Knacle’s tree. It seems we’d gotten home with another family’s tree, which explains the sudden growth spurt it made during the thirty minute drive home.
By the time we realized there’d been a tree mix-up it was really too late to do anything about it. The tree was, after all, already a foot shorter, the garden center was closed, and the decorating needed to be completed before an upcoming event.
If I had to guess, I’d say the K in Knacle is silent (as it is in knuckle) but when we speak of the poor family that arrived home with our little runt tree, we pronounce it “K – Nacle” with a hard C in the “nacle” part. As I decorated the tree that night I was feeling very bad for the Knacles. Even though I didn’t really want such a huge tree, and was a wee bit crabby about the extra lights necessary to cover the breadth of its limbs, I was not unaware of the fact that the Knacles were probably looking at their tree wondering what happened? I prayed for the Knacles. I wondered what the Knacles were doing to make their tree appear larger. And, I have to admit, I laughed at the absurdity of it all.
There were only two trees in the stack of trees to be picked up that night, which meant there was a 50/50 chance the guy would put the right tree on the right car, but sadly, especially for the Knacles, he didn’t. I had to laugh at the fact that I’d actually thought to myself, “I hope he gives us the right tree” when we picked it up and yet talked myself out of actually getting out of the car to assure that happened. I figured I needed to let go of always trying to be in control (that’s a story for another day) but see how it worked out for me? Oh wait, I ended up with a beautiful tree. Hmmm . . . .
As for how it worked out for the Knacles? They don’t know it, but they get prayed for all the time. I like to think that it’s a win for them, too. Someone was in control. Perhaps it’s best it wasn’t me after all.
2 Corinthians 9:15 “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”