After a long, financially difficult year, I realised I couldn’t afford a Christmas tree. I knew my boys wanted one, but they were old enough to understand why we couldn’t have one. To me the Christmas message was miraculous and wonderful (even without all the trimmings), but after seeing Christmas trees through neighbour’s windows it was hard not to wish we had one. One night I came home from work to find two trees on my doorstep. One was from my younger sister, the other from a teenage friend of my son, who had even bought baubles and tinsel for us to decorate it with! I couldn’t pay for them or return the favour, but I decided to try and find someone else who was struggling to buy a tree.
At work the next day, a colleague told me her parents were also planning a stripped-back Christmas due to financial difficulties. I explained I had two trees and suggested she take one and surprise them with it. And so that evening, she did. That Christmas was special, and not just because we had an unexpected tree. I often wonder if the people who gave me the two trees knew how far their generosity would go. The thread of kindness that connected four families reminded me of the supernatural generosity at the heart of Christmas.