Friday, November 13, 2009

Advent Season: Snowflakes

It's already happening.

The sweet discovery of God with us in this has begun to fall from the sky like early snowflakes. Just a few, but enough to cause wonder.

Several weeks ago, I had decided we would not have a Christmas tree this year. We've always had one. But, as I said before, all of our decorations and trees are 700 miles away in storage. We've been living without a regular salary for nearly a year. Was it really worth the cost and trouble to set up a tree? I couldn't justify the expense. I couldn't justify the effort. After all, we're adults. We can manage without one. Christmas is about Jesus, anyway. Not a tree. We can get down to the purity of the season, without all the trappings and noise of our cultural expectations. And maybe that would be something I would like -- a simplified Christmas with less to do. I set my expectations that way.

Then, talking to my family, I realized. After the past year, having no tree would be too bleak. Would we adjust quietly and not complain? Yes, of course. We're all doing our part to make this experience as positive as possible. But something in the faces and voices of my family spoke to me. I can't exactly explain it. Somehow, I suddenly knew I should pray for, hope for, look for a way to decorate the house. I should be bold and look towards a tree.

The first snowflake fell.

I remembered that we had collected coins from all over the house "for a party" after we moved. These coins, still in a box, need to be rolled and deposited in the bank. Why not a Christmas party? Why not a Christmas tree? I had also been given some money for my birthday.

I decided to work on this tree project without telling my family. It would be my surprise for them. I did not even tell my husband about it.

I would have to find an artificial tree, because I'm allergic to pines, so I started scanning trees and decorations online. With a bit of searching, I found a few stores offering trees for under $50 and ornament packages for under $30. My mother-in-law and I went shopping last night. I did not expect to buy anything yet, just scope out the options and be open to possibilities.

Wouldn't you know? We discovered a sweet tree with white lights for $35 and an ornament package for $15. It will just fit in the corner of the room. These were such a good buy that they were disappearing rapidly. In fact, there were only two trees left. I knew I didn't need to look anymore. Here it was. The answer.

One snowflake had been joined by a dozen.

I started singing, right in there in the store, "We Need a Little Christmas," a show tune from the Broadway musical Mame. I didn't even know I remembered it.

For we need a little Christmas,
right this very minute,
Candles in the windows,
Carols at the spinet.
Yes, we need a little Christmas,
right this very minute,
need a little Christmas now!

I was so happy, I didn't care that other shoppers were giving me some uneasy glances. Let 'em look. Let 'em think.

Snowflakes were falling from the sky and it was beautiful.


  1. YAY - for provision and creative thinking!!!

  2. How absolutely wonderful!!! My kids heard your story as I was telling my husband about it (just talking about what I was looking at on the computer screen..., he asks from time to time, and I just so happened to be looking at your site.) So my daughter heard and she decided she wants to make you snowflakes. And of course my son has to get in on this, too. She said no one should be without decorations on Christmas, because they are Jesus' birthday decorations! If you want to, you can email me your address so that when my kids make some things, we can send them out to you, if you feel comfortable with that. :)
    Shellie (and her little Princess)

  3. Shellie:

    How wonderful. I'd be honored to receive anything your children make. They are dear. Absolutely dear.

  4. How wonderful Cassandra! As I read your post, I couldn't help but want to share with you how God provided for us this year. We were in need of a tree and ornaments this year as well. We live on a budget and knew we would have to carve out a little money here, a little money there in order to buy a tree and ornaments this year. It was hard to find much extra, but I began setting aside a dollar here, 2 dollars there. I decided to ask my Mom and sister if they had any extra Christmas ornaments/decorations that they could pass on. As I talked to my sister, she said that they had an extra tree. That they put up two trees each year but it wasn't something they had to do. Long story short, she gave us the tree complete with ornaments and lights. I truly felt that was a blessing from God!

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  5. This made me cry. Not only that it happened, but that it's just like God to want us to celebrate something so precious with beauty in our homes and with our families. I love His care for the details!

    I kept thinking of your tree all covered in snowflakes - and then read Shellie's comment, too. :)

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful story.

  6. Karen,

    Love your story, too!

    Beauty and Joy,

    Yes, this says a lot about God, doesn't it?

  7. I am certain your tree will be the most beuatiful for miles around.

  8. God is better than He has to be huh?! I lurve that you were able to surprise the family - won't that be fun! Got a date to set it up yet? After Thanksgiving? I'm so happy for you!

    Lurve the singing too by the way! ha ha

  9. Hey Cassandra! I'm going to be doing an article for my column on Frugal Living all about Christmas holiday recipes that are inexpensive to make. I'm asking others to contribute their favorite recipes. I thought I'd ask you if you had any you'd like to contribute. You've posted a couple here on your blog so I thought you might be interested in submitting some. I would really appreciate it. If you do contribute a recipe(s), please make sure to include your name. If it's a recipe from someone else, make sure to include their name as well. You can send any recipes to my email:

    Thanks so much!

  10. Karen,

    I'd be happy to share with you.

    At the bottom of each of my posts is a small white envelope. You can click on that to email one of my recipes to your email address. All that I ask in return is:

    - you credit the recipe to me, so I retain the copyright.

    - the web address of one of my blogs is clearly available to readers of the recipe.

    Which publication is your Frugal Living column for?

  11. Thanks Cassandra! You would most definitely receive all the credit for any recipe used. I will also include your Apple Pie Blog URL with each one as well.

    I write for the online magazine Take Root and Write. Here is a link to my column in case you'd like to check it out:

    Hope you have a great day!

  12. You are right Christmas starts in the heart of a person... and it spreads to others, through decorations, goodwill, and snowlakes...:)


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