The second December I spent with my wife found the two of us happily browsing through the Christmas decorations at a local craft store in Orem Utah. Misty was visibly pregnant with our first – a girl. Both of us were completing our undergraduate studies at BYU, and happily situated in a small apartment near the Provo Temple. The apartments were dedicated by BYU for the use of young married student couples. While Misty and I loved living there, some festive individual in the administration had determined that live Christmas trees were a fire hazard and therefore prohibited.
Being a firm believer in the free exercise of religion, and also a lifelong Mormon, I determined that the proper response would be to follow the long example of my Mormon forefathers and publicly support the rulings of my Priesthood authorities, while privately doing what I planned to do in the first place.
Passive-agressiveness. It’s the grease that makes our Church run smoothly!
Accordingly, one night Misty and I purchased a small four-foot tree at a supermarket parking lot, and quickly smuggled it into our apartment. The true spirit of Christmas indeed.
But we needed decorations. Which is why we were browsing through the craft store looking at pretty decorations too expensive for us to afford. For instance, we passed-by a pair of lovely molded turtle-doves that would be perfect for the “12 Days of Christmas” we were trying to collect for the Christmas tree. Oh well…
Just the same, we managed to get a few modest items here and there. At that point a distinguished-looking gentleman approached us and, smiling, pressed a twenty-dollar bill into my hand and told me to buy something nice for the tree. I managed to stammer a surprised thank-you before he was quickly walking off. Misty and I were at a loss for words for a bit, but still delighted at life’s little surprises.
We promptly retraced our steps, and placed the two turtle doves in our cart – along with four calling birds. The decorations looked perfect on the small tree and they’ve been put on every tree we’ve had since. The turtle doves are currently sitting at the top of our tree this Christmas – right below the star.
Or angel, if you prefer…
I guess it’s a reminder that there are angels around this season and every season. They’re not always credited, they’re not always heroic, and they’re usually not very ostentatious. But they are always welcome.