The same scenario has been played out year after year. Families plan regular trips up north at Christmastime in search of the perfect Christmas tree. They trek into the woods with ax in hand searching until they find it. After itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been located, chopped down and carried back it is then securely fastened to the top of the vehicle. But accidents do happen and this is where the story really begins. This time the tree was not secured properly .The first sharp turn while the vehicle was traveling at a fair rate of speed, proved to be the treeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s undoing. It was gone. Fortunately when this occurred there was a break in the traffic and there were no vehicles in the right-hand lanes. It was a sight to see.
There it was as if jettisoned from the familyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s vehicle. The worldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s first flying Christmas tree! It soared through the air across three highway lanes and finally landed on the curb as it continued another twenty feet up the side of the embankment. There it rested while being watched by four pairs of eyes. Three were the childrenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s and the fourth was the family dog. The four stared transfixed, eyes wide open, while looking out the rear window of the familyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s mini van. It was way too dangerous for dad to stop the vehicle in order to search for the tree, so the only thing to do now was to find an exit along the highway in order to begin the search, this time, for the second most-perfect Christmas tree.
About an hour later, traveling along the same highway was young Becky in the back seat. Becky is eight years old. Her family has been enduring hard times these last few months. Her mother has two jobs which barely bring in enough money to pay for the rent and buy groceries. Their ten year old minivan has four bald tires and there is barely enough fuel in the tank to make the drive home. BeckyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s father died last year at Christmastime and life doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t seem to hold much promise for Becky and her mother right now.
Becky had just asked her mother the same question and her mother replied with the same answer, Ã¢â‚¬no, we are not getting a Christmas tree this year, Becky. We simply canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t afford one.Ã¢â‚¬ Becky didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t ask again. At least not out loud and not her mother. This time she asked Jesus. Under her breath she prayed, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Oh please Jesus. I am only asking for one thing this year at Christmas, a Christmas tree. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want anything else. My dad loved Christmastime. We would always decorate the tree together while mom was in the kitchen baking Christmas cookies and other treats.Ã¢â‚¬
At that moment it happened. The minivan started jerking. It was running out of gas. BeckyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s mother turned the steering wheel sharply to the right so as not to be near the speeding traffic as it quickly sped past their stalling vehicle. The problem was that she misjudged the road and ended up by steering the minivan into a ditch. The van was now firmly stuck in the ditch alongside the highway.
The engine was now dead. It was Christmas Eve. Becky and her mother were in a stalled
vehicle at nighttime on the edge of a highway with the wind howling through the nearby
trees. It was icy cold outside and beginning to snow heavily. Things couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have looked
any bleaker than at this moment. BeckyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s mother was now overwhelmed with their situation. She couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t take it anymore. She placed her head down into her gloved hands and broke down in tears. In the back seat Becky couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t understand what was happening. For a moment she couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t see her mother in the front seat. She began to panic, and then realized that her mother was bent over in the darkness sobbing.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Momma, whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s happening? Why are you crying?Ã¢â‚¬ she asked frantically.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t lie to you honey. I was crying. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know what weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re going to do. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s going to happen to us tonight. We donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have a cell phone and the snow is blowing everywhere. No one will be able to see our car in this blizzard. Oh I wish your father were still here with usÃ¢â‚¬ she answered in tears.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“But momÃ¢â‚¬ Becky replied, Ã¢â‚¬Å“DidnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t you and dad tell me that when a person is in trouble they should always pray to Jesus? DidnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t you tell me that Jesus promised that He will always be with us?Ã¢â‚¬
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Well yes, I did.Ã¢â‚¬ replied her mother.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Then that means we are not alone in this car. ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not just two of us here. There are three of us, you, me and Jesus.Ã¢â‚¬
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I guess youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re right BeckyÃ¢â‚¬ her mother answered. At that moment BeckyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s eyes opened wide. Ã¢â‚¬Å“That means that daddy is near us too!Ã¢â‚¬ Becky shouted: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Because daddy is with Jesus, then he must be here too!Ã¢â‚¬
Becky began looking all around the car. Then she looked out the window. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I see a light!Ã¢â‚¬ she shouted. BeckyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s mother quickly turned in time to see a bright light beaming through the swirling snow. Yes, it was a light and it came from a flashlight being held by a police officer.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Are you folks all right in there?Ã¢â‚¬ he called to them.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Yes, weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re ok.Ã¢â‚¬ They both called back. The policeman told Becky and her mother to stay in the vehicle while he took a look around it. A couple of minutes later he came back and told BeckyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s mother that he had called a tow truck and it would be here in about fifteen minutes.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“In the meantime the three of you can sit in my cruiser where itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s warm until we have your van up and running again.Ã¢â‚¬ suggested the officer.
BeckyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s mother asked him what he meant by Ã¢â‚¬Ëœthe three of youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢. The officer replied,
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Oh, the gentleman who waved me off the highway told me that his wife and daughter were stuck in their van by the side of the road and in the ditch. He ran ahead and I followed him until I lost sight of him, just before I saw your van. By the way, where is he?Ã¢â‚¬
Becky and her mother were speechless. Suddenly there was a loud noise as something hit the side of their van. They all ran to the far side of the van to see a Christmas tree which must have rolled down the embankment.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It has a price tag on it! Daddy bought it for us mommy!Ã¢â‚¬ yelled Becky. Ã¢â‚¬Å“How did this all happen?Ã¢â‚¬ wondered BeckyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s mother aloud.
Becky answered: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Jesus, mommy, Jesus!Ã¢â‚¬