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The Manger
by Thomas Kappel
07/15/06
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The Manger

A light snow slowly drifted down from a few clouds in a star-filled night sky over Bethlehem. Two olive trees on top of a hill stirred as if gently touched by the passing snow.

“Father,” the smaller tree whispered, the sound like a breeze slipping through small branches. “Father?”

“Yes, son,” the old olive tree answered.

“What’s happening? Why can I speak now?” asked the young tree.

“It’s a special night son. Only tonight can we speak.”

“Why is that father? Is it because of the great bright star shining down on us tonight? What’s going on? What’s happening?” The young tree shook the words out of its branches.

The old tree answered slowly. “There’s nothing to be afraid of son. Tonight is a very special night and, yes, that bright star in the sky is part of what’s going on and what’s about to happen.”

“What? What’s about to happen, father?” Now the smaller tree shook in excitement.

“Do you see the beam of light from that bright star shining down on the stable below us?”

“Yes, father.”

“Can you see in the stable window?”

“Yes! Yes, I can. There are people moving about inside, a man and a woman. I can see them through the window because of the light from the star.” The young tree answered.

“That’s it, son. They’re about to have a baby, a very special baby, and very soon I believe.”

“And, because of that, we can talk tonight?”

The snow stopped falling and everything quickly became still and quiet. No birds. No wind. No rustling from the trees.

The first cry of a new baby pierced the quiet night from the stable below. Before the baby’s cry finished, music and singing filled the night as bright shining angels appeared surrounding the stable.

“Father?” came softly from the young tree.

“Quiet, now,” the father commanded. “Can you see the mother and the baby through the window?”

“Yes. She’s wrapped the new baby in cloths from the barn and is laying the little one in the manger.”

“That’s it. That’s it!” said the old olive tree. “That’s the reason we can talk tonight. The manger that’s holding that baby is made of olive wood. A special pure original father of us trees today. Your great, great, great, great, grandfather was born a long time ago to give himself, his heartwood, to the making of that manger below. It’s to hold that very special child down there.”

With that, the old olive father tree shook its branches and its deep heavy voice joined in the beautiful singing of the angles filling the night with their joy at the birth in the stable.

The young olive tree stared down through the window at the baby now resting peacefully in the wooden arms of the old manger that was made from his father’s father’s father.

The song of the angels, the voice of his father singing next to him, filled his young heart. His branches shook and his young voice rose louder and louder to join with the others on the one night when all Heaven and Earth and olive trees could speak and sing their joy.


END




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