O Christmas Tree!
The year was 1976. We had recently arrived in Ethiopia with our sons, Brent and Scott, ages 7 and 6. Our new “home,” a country in turmoil, was drastically different from California; there was nightly shooting around our house. Those were years of war and revolution. Because of the danger involved, we didn’t allow the boys to leave our compound except to go to school.
One enormous void was the lack of a Christmas tree. Early in the season we had encouraged Brent and Scott to pray that God would send us a tree, and they had been praying for the whole month. But it was now only two days before Christmas, and we still had no Christmas tree. A neighbor had generously shared some of her tree ornaments with us, but they were worthless with no tree to hang them on. We knew it would take a miracle!
That night, as my husband Ron and I sat in our small living room, the boys both sound asleep in bed, we heard a knock on our door. It was already 10 p.m., and we had no idea who it could be. No one came to anyone’s house at that time of night; it was simply too dangerous. But when we opened the door, a man stood there, holding a small Christmas tree. He offered it to us for sale, an offer we quickly agreed to, thanking God for this miracle. When the boys awoke the next morning, they found the miracle, the tree they had asked God for. To them, that small African tree was the most beautiful tree they had ever seen.
Afterwards, we attempted to find out who this man was, but no one knew, very unusual in a tightly knit African community. It was as if he had disappeared. Could this man have been an angel? We don’t know. All we do know is that God answered the prayers of two little boys their first Christmas away from their California home in a new country far away.
Ron and Gloria Hanson served as AGWM missionaries to East Africa for 37 years. Both Brent and Scott Hanson continue to serve in the region with their families.