Christmas 2


A long time ago, in a little cabin, in a small village there lived a nice family. There were three of them: Papa, Mama, and their five year old son, Jonah. They didn’t have much, for it was a poor village. Papa had worked hard at the mill cutting trees down into lumber. The mill had to cut back to part-time work because the trees were getting scarce. The men who were loggers were traveling farther and farther away to find the trees to cut down. They would load them onto carts and horses pulled them back into the village to the mill. The area had been logged for generations and the trees that were left were too small to cut. In a few more generations, the trees would be plentiful, but at that time, they were scarce.

It was almost Christmas, and Jonah wanted a real Christmas tree. He had seen pictures of Christmas trees and knew what they looked like. There were not any trees to be found to cut down for a Christmas tree. He loved to hear about Christmas. Christmas time was a special time for the family.

His papa had carved a nativity set for the family. It was sitting on the table by the window where the family Bible sat. Papa sat in his chair by the table every evening and read the Bible to his family. Jonah loved to touch and handle the nativity pieces, moving them around. Over the years, Papa had made a complete set, there were: Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, angel, shepherd, cow, and sheep. Mama put one of her earrings, which had been her grandmother’s, at the top of the stable and the light from the fireplace made it sparkle just like a star. Every year Papa would add pieces to it he had carved from pieces of wood left over from the mill. This year Papa was working on carving the three wise men and he said he would try to make a camel too. Jonah watched Papa as he carved and wondered what they would look like when they were finished. Papa thought he might get the four pieces finished this year because he had more time because work being slow.

Most days during the Christmas season, Jonah asked his Mama to tell him the Christmas story, and he would move the pieces around according to the story. As she made bread, she recounted the story. Jonah had heard it so many times he could almost say it with her. When the part came where the angels appeared to the shepherds, Jonah took his other toys and make them more sheep, shepherds and angels. When the bread was in the oven, Jonah took down his favorite picture book that had pictures of Christmases around the world. He loved looking at the stockings hung on the mantels of the fireplaces, trains on tracks around the trees, and the beautiful trees themselves.

Jonah asked many times if they could have a pretty tree like in the pictures. He remembered two years ago when they had a tree. He thought about the fun they had when they decorated it. He knew Mama had a wood box that was full of pretty things to put on the tree. Ornaments are what Mama called them. He had difficulty saying ornaments, it would come out "orments." He was not allowed to play with them, but Mama occasionally opened the box so he could look at them.

One day he was playing outside.  He lay on the ground to look up at the clouds. He liked to make pictures out of the clouds. He caught sight of a falcon in the sky. He lay there watching the falcon soar through the sky. It flew up and up--up to the top of one of the rocky high mountains. His eyes were watching the falcon, when he saw it. The most beautiful tree he had ever seen. It was so green and shaped like a Christmas tree! He had never noticed it before! He got up and ran to the cabin and called, “Mama come look!”

Mama ran to see what could be wrong. When she came out the door, Jonah pointed to the top of the mountain and said, “It’s my Christmas tree!”

Mama frowned and said, “What?”

Jonah said, “Look up there. It’s a Christmas tree and Papa can get it for me and we can decorate it and…”

“Jonah, that tree is impossible to reach! Look at that mountain, no one could climb it, let alone bring back a tree!” said Mama.

That evening when Papa came home, Jonah told him about the tree. Jonah said the tree would make Christmas perfect. Papa shook his head and told Jonah it was practically impossible to get to the tree and cut it down. He said men had tried before to get the tree and realized it was not worth the risk. He said one man fell, injuring himself badly, and now he has to use a cane to walk.

Papa said, "Christmas will still be a wonderful day even without a tree."

Jonah was very sad as he climbed into his bed that night. He fell asleep thinking about beautiful Christmas trees.

Papa couldn’t sleep. He kept thinking about how excitedly Jonah had talked about the tree. He just wondered if…He got out of bed and got dressed. He quietly left his cabin and walked to his friend Jake’s cabin. Jake was asleep but finally answered his knock. Opening the door he exclaimed, “Charles, what are you doing here? Is something wrong?”

Charles said, “Jake I need your help. I’m hoping you will help me, but it will be dangerous.”

Jake said, “Molly is asleep, I’ll get my coat.”

Charles laid out his plan and Jake agreed to help. They agreed to meet in an hour after they had gathered all they would need for the job. They had ropes, picks, a saw, burlap sack, and a sled. They were dressed in warm gear, gloves, and climbing boots. Before they started, Charles prayed for safety. They knew this was a very dangerous job, but they felt they had a good plan.

The first part of the climb was not too bad. It was a good thing, because it was still dark. At least there was a full moon that illuminated the mountain quite nicely. When the sun was beginning to rise, the path became quite narrow and slippery. Only mountain goats climbed this far. It was a long and difficult ascent. Ascent is the act of ascending, to go up, or climb.

After hours of climbing, they reached the tree. The tree was beautiful, and it was amazing that it could grow where it was. The tree looked like it was growing out of the rocks of the mountain. It was very dangerous and tricky to cut the tree out. After they secured themselves with ropes attached to spikes hammered into rock, they did the same to the tree. The ropes would keep the tree in place when it was cut from its roots.

Carefully Charles began to saw the tree. It was a long and tedious job. Tedious means burdensome and tiring. Charles was standing perpendicular on the side of a cliff which made him parallel to the ground. Finally, the saw had cut through. The tree slumped slightly. Charles went back up to where Jake was, and the two of them pulled the tree up to them. They wrapped it in the burlap and tied it with ropes to the sled.

Cautiously, they started the decent. At the first, they had to propel themselves and the sled with ropes. Farter down they could walk. It was more treacherous, which means unstable and insecure footing, going back down. One time, the sled slipped and fell off the side of the mountain! Charles and Jake were tied to it and they were almost pulled down too! Thankfully, they were able to catch themselves. They pulled the sled back up. They were thankful they had both been tied to it. If only one had been attached, it would have taken him with it.

At midafternoon, they finally made it all the way to Charles’ home. Charles and Jake’s families were waiting and greeted them with hugs. Mama was so relieved they were safe. When they took the burlap off the tree, everyone was amazed at how beautiful and perfect it was. Jonah was so excited and could picture it all decorated. They brought the tree into the cabin and set it up in front of the window.

Charles embraced. "Jake thank you, I couldn't have done it without your help, you are a true friend." 

Jake wanted a nap so he and his family went home.

Jonah was so excited to help put the ornaments on the tree. They popped popcorn and strung it with thread and hung it on the tree. The tree was beautiful! They sat and sang Christmas carols and ate cookies Mama had made.

That night, Jonah laid in bed thinking about the wonderful tree and how his papa and Jake had risked their lives just so Jonah could have a wonderful Christmas. It was the best Christmas ever! He thought about the village and wished everyone had a beautiful tree.

The next morning, Jonah woke up very early because he wanted to talk to his papa and mama about what he wanted to do. His excitement couldn’t keep him asleep!

Jonah said, “Papa, thank you for the tree. It is so beautiful, but I don’t think I should keep it all to myself. I want the whole village to enjoy it. Can we set it up in the middle of the village?”

 Papa looked at Mama then said, “Jonah that is a very kind thing to do. The people would be very happy to have such a beautiful tree to enjoy. I heard people were sharing decorations to help decorate the village square. They are planning a Christmas gathering and decorating event. The tree would be a wonderful center for all the festivities.”

Mama added, “Jonah, are you sure? You will not have what you wished and dreamed about--a tree right here to look at and touch for Christmas.”

Jonah said, “Yes, I'm sure. This way, everyone will get to enjoy it.”  

Papa grabbed Jonah and tossed him into the air. He caught him and hugged him tight. Jonah giggled and Papa said, “I am so proud of my boy!”

The three of them carefully undecorated the tree. They carried  it to the village square where everyone was gathering to decorate and have a Christmas celebration. All the people loved the tree and were so grateful they could all enjoy such a marvelous gift of the tree. It was so beautiful when it was decorated. One of the men asked Charles to read the Christmas story from Luke chapter 2. Everyone gathered around and listened to Charles as he read in his deep voice about Jesus’ birth. Then they all sang Christmas carols.

One of the men told Charles that it was the best Christmas the village had ever had.

Charles told how he and Jake had gotten the tree. "It was Jonah's idea to give the tree to the town so everyone might enjoy it."

All the people patted Jonah on the back, rubbed his head, or hugged him and told him thank you.

That night, Jonah sat and looked at where the tree had stood in front of the window and knew he had done the right thing. He remembered everyone’s smiles, hugs, and laughter. He was glad he had given the tree to the village for all to enjoy. It felt like he had gotten a gift instead of giving one. He knew he would remember this special Christmas the rest of his life. And he did.


I hope all of you have a wonderful Christmas full of smiles, hugs, and laughter. Remember Christmas is for giving. Think of something special you can do, make, or give to someone. Giving is what Christmas is about and it all started the day God gave His son to be born for us. Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Take time and read or have someone read to you the true story of Christmas in Luke chapter 2. Merry Christmas!

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