Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Tree Oh Christmas Tree

For most of my childhood, my mother put up not just one, but TWO Christmas Trees. That meant putting TWO up and taking TWO down. This was not my most favorite thing do. However, I always enjoyed it when they were up and taken down. She now only has the energy or maybe it is just that all seven of us are out of the house and she doesn't have as much help, so she only puts one up. For many years we always had the family tree downstairs and therefore had our Christmas morning down stairs. Now days we have it upstairs in the family room. My mothers trees are always so beautiful. Someday mine will be just as beautiful. My tree is decorated with many homemade ornaments that we made and had on our Christmas tree growing up. It means a little more to me to have a little piece of home in NC. One year we made mittens both wood and cloth and another we made snowmen, these now hang on my tree and I love it. Sister Middlebrook saw it the other day and said, "It looks like a country Christmas." Yes indeed. When I was younger Mom use to put a flocked tree in the living room. She no longer does this as she has a grand piano that takes up the room now. I remember how beautiful that tree always was with the red wine colored carpet. There was just something about the red carpet and the white tree. It reminded me of the blood that Jesus Christ shed for us as He atoned for our sins, our disappointments, and our heartaches. I love the story of the three trees. If you haven't heard it, well let me share it with you.
Once upon a mountain top, three little trees stood and dreamed of what they
wanted to become when they grew up. The first little tree looked up at the stars
and said: “I want to hold treasures. I want to be covered with gold and filled
with precious stones. I’ll be the most beautiful treasure chest in the world!”

The second little tree looked out at the small stream trickling by on it’s
way to the ocean. “I want to be traveling mighty waters and carrying powerful
kings. I’ll be the strongest ship in the world!”

The third little tree looked down into the valley below where busy men and
women worked in a busy town. “I don’t want to leave the mountain top at all. 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. I will be the tallest tree in the world.”

Years passed. The rain came, the sun shone, and the little trees grew tall.
One day three woodcutters climbed the mountain.

The first woodcutter looked at the first tree and said, “This tree is
beautiful. It is perfect for me.” With a swoop of his shining axe, the first
tree fell.

“Now I shall be made into a beautiful chest, I shall hold wonderful
treasures!” The first tree said.

The second woodcutter looked at the second tree and said, “This tree is
strong. It is perfect for me.” With a swoop of his shining axe, the second tree

“Now I shall sail mighty waters!” thought the second tree. “I shall be a
strong ship for mighty kings!”

The third tree felt her heart sank when the last woodcutter looked her way.
She stood straight and tall and pointed bravely to heaven.

But the woodcutter never even looked up. “Any kind of tree will do for
me.” He muttered. With a swoop of his shining axe, the third tree fell.

The first tree rejoiced when the woodcutter brought her to a carpenter’s
shop. But the carpenter fashioned the tree into a feedbox for animals.

The once beautiful tree was not covered with gold, with treasures. She was
coated with saw dust and filled with hay for hungry farm animals.

The second tree smiled when the woodcutter took her to a shipyard, but no
mighty sailing ship was made that day. Instead the once strong tree was
hammered and sawed into a simple fishing boat. She was too small and too weak to
sail to an ocean, or even a river; instead she was taken to a little lake.

The third tree was confused when the woodcutter cut her into strong beams and
left her in a lumberyard.

“What happened?” the once tall tree wondered. “All I ever wanted was to
stay on the mountain top and point to God…”

Many, many days and nights passed. The three trees nearly forgot their
dreams. But one night, golden starlight poured over the first tree as a young
woman placed her newborn baby in the feedbox.

“I wish I could make a cradle for him.” her husband whispered.

The mother squeezed his hand and smiled as the starlight shone on the sturdy
wood. “This manger is beautiful.” she said.

And suddenly the first tree knew he was holding the greatest treasure in the

One evening a tired traveler and his friends crowded into the old fishing
boat. The traveler fell asleep as the second tree quietly sailed out into the

Soon a thundering and thrashing storm arose. The little tree shuddered.
She knew she did not have the strength to carry so many passengers safely through
with the wind and the rain.

The tired man awakened. He stood up, stretched out his hand, and said,
“Peace.” The storm stopped as quickly as it had begun.

And suddenly the second tree knew he was carrying the king of heaven and

One Friday morning, the third tree was startled when her beams were yanked
from the forgotten woodpile. She flinched as she was carried through an angry
jeering crowd. She shuddered when soldiers nailed a man’s hands to her.

She felt ugly and harsh and cruel.

But on Sunday morning, when the sun rose and the earth trembled with joy
beneath her, the third tree knew that God’s love had changed everything. It
had made the third tree strong.

And every time people thought of the third tree, they would think of God.
That was better than being the tallest tree in the world.

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