It is early summer, a full six months away from Christmas. The only snow to be seen today sits atop Mount Hood, hugging her slopes like frosting on a giant cupcake and gleaming brilliant white in sunshine.
I am walking around picturesque Trillium Lake in Oregon, in the company of blue skies and bald eagles. This has to be one of my favorite places in the world. Everywhere I look there is beauty. I feel like I’m in a picture postcard.
Above I see the majestic slopes of Oregon’s most famous mountain, framed against a background of sheer blue. Below I see her white covered peaks reflected in shimmering turquoise. All around are trees, and birds, and sunshine on leaves. The air is filled with laughter and conversation as we finish our family picnic and begin our walk together.
And my three-year old grandson – always ahead, and always running, and always the one to notice things, is making his way back to me, running back down the wooded path with something in his hand. It glistens in the sun.
What is that? It’s a shiny Christmas bauble.
On the path up ahead is a solitary pine tree, quietly standing to one side, waiting to be noticed. And from its branches hang shiny Christmas baubles…red, and green, silver and gold, catching the sunlight and swinging in the breeze.
And we all stop, and laugh, and marvel at the sight, and take photographs with our phones. And then we keep on walking.
And I can’t help but wonder…
Who was it who placed those baubles there?
Who was it who walked that path before us; who noticed that pine tree; who went home; foraged for their hidden-away Christmas ornaments; took out the baubles; selected the colors, and then brought them back to hang on that tree –
so that everyone who passed by would stop, and take notice, and smile, and perhaps write blogs about what they had seen that day?
Because whoever it was, that little unexpected surprise took a whole lot of thought, and planning, and detail, and purpose.
Who stands quietly to one side of our path as we walk.
Waiting for us to stop.
Waiting to be noticed.
When we might least expect it.