It was Christmas Eve and Katie was almost as excited as her little sister Sarah. Tomorrow was their most favorite day of the year- Christmas. An exciting day filled with gifts, food, and lots of family.
“What do you think we’ll get for Christmas? Oh, I hope I get my Tender Talk doll. It’s just got to be under the tree,” Sarah whispered, “I’ve been wanting her for so long.”
“Oh Sarah, the doll just came out in the stores since your birthday in November.” replied Katie.
“But that’s a long time.” Sarah pouted.
“Go to sleep, Sarah.” Katie said sternly.
Sarah rolled over and hugged her pillow tight.
“Katie,” asked Sarah.
“What now Sarah,” sighed Katie.
“I can’t sleep, I’m too excited about tomorrow.”
“Think of something different,” answered Katie
“Like what,” asked Sarah.
“Like the snow outside or…I don’t know just go to sleep,” said Katie.
Sarah was quiet for just a little while.
“Katie,” Sarah whispered, “I still can’t sleep.”
“You know what Sarah,” replied Katie.
“What,” said Sarah.
“I can’t either. I keep thinking about our Christmas tree and how beautiful it is all lit up in the dark. I think this is the prettiest tree we’ve ever had.”
“I miss our tree.” Sarah frowned.
Katie rolled out of her bed and knelt beside Sarah’s bed.
“Look little sister, you need to close your eyes and go to sleep.” Katie tucked the blankets in around Sarah.
“If only I could see our tree just one more time,” Sarah said with a pouted face.
“Sarah, you know we’re not suppose to be out of our beds at night,” Katie spoke firmly.
“But it’s Christmas and I want to see our tree,” Sarah continued to pout.
“If I take you to see our tree will you promise me you’ll go to sleep?” Katie relented.
“I promise Katie,” Sarah smiled.
Katie helped Sarah peel off the blankets as she slid down to the floor and into her soft furry slippers. Sarah slipped her hand into Katie’s and they began to tiptoe quietly across the room.
“I sure hope we don’t wake Mom and Dad.” Katie whispered, “we’ll be in big trouble.”
Katie opened their bedroom door slowly and peeked outside. It was dark and quiet with a blue hue softly glowing down the hallway. The sisters quietly stepped into the hallway and made their way towards the living room.
As they tiptoed closer the blue hue became brighter and brighter. And as they turned the corner both Katie and Sarah let out a quiet gasp.
“Isn’t it beautiful?” said Sarah.
“It’s the most beautiful Christmas tree anywhere!” said Katie.
Katie walked her sister closer to the tree and they both knelt down and stared silently for several minutes.
The tree stood tall and was covered from top to bottom. Their mom had always called their Christmas tree the giving tree and it held what she called her giving treasures. Each ornament was made by a member of their family as a child, and both Katie and Sarah loved to listen to their Mom tell about each of the handmade ornaments as she placed them on the tree. There was the miniature wreath made of green and red beads that was made by Sarah and Katie’s mom when she was a little girl and a tiny shoe painted gold that was worn by their father when he was a baby. There was a reindeer made from a clothes pin that was made by their uncle. A paper tube Santa that Sarah made in preschool and an ornament with Katie’s picture and Baby’s First Christmas written on it. There was even a paper dove that had scribbles on it that wasn’t very pretty, but placed on the tree it looked beautiful. The whole tree was covered with silver tinsel, blue lights, and the giving treasures, it was truly the most beautiful tree anywhere.
Katie looked at Sarah to see her arms wrapped around her knees and shivering.
“Let me get you a blanket, Sarah,” said Katie.
Katie hopped up and grabbed the warm blanket on the couch and wrapped it around both of their shoulders.
“There, that’s better,” said Katie.
“Katie, why does Mom call them giving treasures?”
Sarah rested her head against Katie’s shoulders as Katie began to explain.
“Mom says they are giving treasures because they were made by the hands of children and given with love, and love is a treasure of heaven. I remember a Bible lesson in Sunday School where Jesus said, ‘for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’ Every time I hear that verse I think of these giving treasures and how Mom treasures each of the handmade ornaments.”
“Is that why Mom calls our tree the giving tree?” asked Sarah.
“Well, sort of,” said Katie, “Mom says that God gave us the greatest gift of all, Jesus, and placed him on a wooden cross. She says every Christmas tree points to heaven and reminds her of the gift given to us and that is why she calls them the giving tree.”
Katie looked at Sarah and saw her eyes getting heavy with sleep.
“Come on Sarah, we better get back to bed before you fall asleep.”
Sarah sleepily yawns and nods her head. They both get up and again stare silently at the tree. It truly was the most beautiful tree anywhere.
The two sisters tiptoed back to their room. Katie helped Sarah climb into her bed and tucked the blankets in tight around her. Before Katie climbed into her bed she knelt down and whispered a prayer.
“Dear God, thank you for sharing your treasure with us, and thank you for our beautiful giving tree. Amen.”
Katie jumped into bed and looked over at her little sister Sarah to find her fast asleep. Katie too could feel the heaviness in her eyes. Still seeing the giving tree and the treasures that it held, Katie snuggled deeply into her blankets and closed her eyes. I can’t wait for tomorrow, she thought and she drifted into sleep
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