The Righter Report

The Three Little Trees – A Christmas Story

Intently studying the new Christmas tree that her mother and father had just erected in their foyer, little Christina slowly walked up to it and was immediately taken with the wonderful aroma of pine cones and winter frost that still lingered on its branches.

“Mommy, why do people have Christmas trees,” Christina asked? “Oh, I suppose that the Christmas tree means different things to different people, honey,” the mother cheerfully replied, as she worked the string of Christmas lights through the branches of the tree. “But mommy, what does it mean for us – for you and me and for daddy?” The child-like innocence of Christina’s question made her mother hesitate and stop what she was doing. She turned around and sat down on the floor, crossed her legs and gently lifted little Christina into her lap.

“Christina, honey, I don’t know what the Christmas tree means to other people, but I can tell you about all the wonderful things I think about when I see one.” Let me tell you a little story. And starting with the birth of Jesus, she told Christina all the wonderful news about his birth, his life, his death, and his resurrection, and what it all meant. And then to put it into a child’s perspective the mother smiled and said, “You see, long ago on a mountain top, far, far away, there were three other little trees. And as they started to sprout their branches and reach for the sky, they each dreamed about what they wanted to become when they grew up.

The first tree looked up to the stars and said, ‘I want to be a treasure chest. I want to be covered with gold and filled with precious stones. I want to be the most beautiful treasure chest the world has ever seen.’

The second little tree looked out at the small stream trickling by on its way to the ocean and said, ‘I like the water. I want to be a mighty sailing ship carrying kings on their journeys across the seas. Why, I’ll be the strongest ship in the whole world!’

The third little tree looked down into the valley below and saw the hustle and bustle in the streets and the hectic pace of the people in the village and said, ‘I don’t want to leave the mountain top. I really like it here. I want to grow up and be so tall that when people look at me, they’ll raise their eyes and look up to heaven and think of God. Why, I’ll be the tallest tree in the whole world!’

Years passed. The rains came and the winds blew, the sun shone bright, and the little trees grew tall and strong. And then one day three woodcutters climbed up the mountain .

The first woodcutter looked at the first tree and said, ‘This tree is beautiful. I have something special I want to make from it, and it’ll be perfect for me.’ And with one mighty swoop of his woodcutter’s axe, the first tree fell.

‘Now, the time has come for my dream to come true,’ the first tree thought. ‘Now I shall be made into a beautiful chest, and surely I shall hold wonderful treasures!’

The second woodcutter looked at the second tree and said, ‘This tree is strong. It will be perfect for me.’ And with a swing of his powerful axe, the second tree fell to earth.

‘Now my dreams also will come true,’ thought the second tree. ‘I will be hewn into a mighty ship to sail the seas, and great kings will ride my bow!’

But then the third tree felt her heart sink when the third woodcutter looked her way. She stood straight and tall and pointed bravely to the heavens. ‘Remember, I want to stay on the mountain top, she cried.’

But the woodcutter never looked up. ‘Any tree will do for me,’ he muttered. And with a powerful swing of his shining axe, the third tree thundered to the earth.

The first tree continued to rejoice when the woodcutter brought him into the carpenter’s shop. But his joy was turned to sorrow when the carpenter fashioned him into a simple feed trough for animals. Instead of being covered with precious gold and jewels, he was now covered with sawdust and filled with hay for hungry farm animals to eat.

The second tree smiled when the woodcutter took her into the shipyard. ‘Now, my dreams will also come true!’ she thought.

But no mighty sailing ship was christened that day. Instead the once mighty oak was whittled, hammered, and sawn into a simple fishing boat. She was too small and frail to sail the mighty oceans, or navigate the raging rivers. Instead, crestfallen, she was taken to an inland sea, and there she would spend her days.

The third tree was confused when the woodcutter cut into her strong and weathered timbers, and left her in a cluttered woodpile in the lumberyard. ‘What happened?’ asked the tree that once pointed to the heavens. ‘All I ever wanted was to grace the top of the mountain and point to God.’

Again, the years passed by. The dreams the little trees once had were nearly forgotten. But then, something wonderful happened. In the distance, the angels were heard singing to the shepherds. A bright and shining star began its transit across the heavens, and came to its place of rest above the hewn out timbers of the first tree, where a beautiful young mother placed her newborn son into the feedbox.

‘I wish I had time to make a cradle for him,’ the father whispered. The mother gently squeezed his hand and smiled as the starlight glistened off the smooth and sturdy wood.

‘Why this manger is beautiful,’ she said. ‘There is no need for another.’

And suddenly, the first tree knew that God had honored his dream, and that he was now holding the greatest and most precious treasure in the whole world.

‘God sure works in mysterious ways,’ he thought, ‘but this is better than anything I could have ever imagined.’

Some years later, a kindly stranger and his friends crowded into an old fishing boat. The weary traveler fell asleep as the second tree quietly sailed out upon the moonlit sea. But soon, a terrible storm arose. The rains came, the winds grew fierce, and time after time the waves crashed into the little boat, sending it reeling from side to side. The little tree shuddered and grew afraid. She knew she did not have the strength to carry so many passengers through such a raging storm. Then, the kind but tired traveler awoke. He took hold of the mastline and stood up on the bow of the little vessel, stretched out his hand, and said, ‘Peace, be still.’ The storm stopped as quickly as it had begun. And suddenly, the second tree knew that she was carrying the greatest King who had ever lived, and that in some mysterious way, God had also made her dreams come true.

Shortly thereafter, early on a Friday morning, the third tree was startled when her beams were yanked from the forgotten woodpile. She flinched when she was carried through an angry, jeering crowd. She shuddered when the soldiers nailed the arms and feet of a weary and bleeding man to her cross timbers. She felt ugly, cruel, and harsh. In the middle of the day, the sky turned dark. And when it was over, a terrible earthquake shook the ground, and made the third little tree long for the peace and serenity of its favorite mountain top, and the now-forgotten dreams that seemed so real, not so long ago.

But early on a Sunday morning, when the sun rose and the earth trembled with joy beneath her, the third little tree looked upon the risen Savior, and rejoiced that God’s mysterious love had now changed everything. The third tree remembered her dream – ‘I want to grow so tall that when people stop to look at me, they’ll raise their eyes to heaven and think of God.’ It made the tree glad. Now, whenever people think of that third little tree, they think of God. And surely that was better than being the tallest tree in the whole world.’

“So you see, Christina, God really does make dreams come true, though not always in the ways we expect. When I look at a Christmas tree, I remember the birth of Christ. I see the first little tree that was made into a manger. I remember the second little tree that our Savior rode in and calmed the great storm that rose up. And I remember that last little tree upon which our Lord was crucified, and how precious it also was. These are the things I think about when I see a Christmas tree.”

Glory be to God. And Merry Christmas to all.

– The Righter Report

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December 3, 2014 - Posted by | America, Evangelical, God, Human Interest, Theology, Theology Articles | , ,

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