"How about if we send wreaths to our pastors at church?" My wife suggested this while I was in the process of ordering Maine balsam pine wreaths for my Convene members for Christmas. We used to do this several years earlier but due to budget constraints the last several years, we had forgone it. This year would be different. For two of our four pastors I didn’t have home addresses, so I had their wreaths shipped to our home so I could personally deliver them. They arrived the week after Thanksgiving so I took them to the church. Not finding either pastor present, I left the boxed wreaths in their offices. As I came out of the building, I ran into one of the pastors, John David Crowe, our youth pastor, and we began chatting about how he and his wife were doing. In April of this year he and his wife Jessica had lost their four-year-old son Noah to cancer. This has been a particularly hard year for them.
As we chatted his wife Jessica came out of the building, walked up to me and hugged me. She had found the wreath in the office, and she seemed extremely grateful for the gift. She then asked me quietly, “How did you know?” I replied that I wasn’t sure what she was talking about, and she asked again, “How did you know?” She then turned to John David and mentioned the wreath, and he teared up as he began to explain how he had told Jessica earlier in the month that he couldn’t have Christmas this year. He couldn’t have the tree and all the trimmings. He couldn’t have any of those things that would remind him that his son Noah was not going to be there for this Christmas.
But Jessica had to have something that said Christmas. Not something big, just something that would remind her of this important season, in spite of her deep hurt. So the day before I came to the church she asked John David if she could at least get a wreath for Christmas. He said she could. And God appointed me to deliver it the next day.
We stood in the parking lot weeping. Weeping over the joy of knowing a Savior who sees to all our needs, before we even see them ourselves. And as we talked and praised God, our tears turned to laughter as we started to imagine the kind of Christmas that Noah was going to have with Jesus—a Christmas that we couldn’t begin to think about—but a Christmas that Noah would never want to miss out on.
This Christmas Eve John David preached a wonderful sermon on “Being Like Shepherds,” and he coined a word I’ve never heard before: Godsequence. As he said the word I flashed back to our wreath experience, and I knew just what he was speaking about. I silently praised God that He allowed me to witness that Godsequence.