Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Christmas Tree (10/09/08)
TITLE: The First Christmas Tree
By Dixie Phillips
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Years went by and the sapling grew into a strong, large tree. One hot, summer day a young family built a home behind the tall tree. The cool shade from the tree’s branches provided a refuge from the scorching heat. A little girl smiled at her father, and replied. “Papa, King El Shaddai grew this sacred tree just for us. He knew one day we would live here and needed a refuge from the blazing sun.”
Her father’s eyes twinkled. “Yes, my wise one, King El Shaddai grew the sacred tree just for us.”
Every fall the family would pick baskets full of figs from the sacred tree. The young girl winked at her mother and said. “Mama, King El Shaddai grew the sacred tree just for us. He knew one day we would live here so He provided delicious food for us to enjoy.”
Her mother planted a kiss on her daughter’s head. “Yes, dear heart, King El Shaddai grew the sacred tree just for us.”
The girl’s father tied a rope to the sturdy branch of the sacred tree. As she swung back and forth on the rope, she cheered. “King El Shaddai grew the sacred tree just for us. He knew one day we would live here and He has given us this gift of joy.”
Her father nodded his head. “Yes, precious one, King El Shaddai grew the sacred tree just for us.”
Early one morning the little girl climbed up in the tree and carved the initials – S.T. on its trunk. She hugged her beloved tree and said, “Thank you for all the gifts you have given us.”
The next day the family was awakened by the sound of an angry soldier’s ax pounding on the sacred tree. Without an explanation; the sacred tree was hewn to the ground and taken away. The family mourned, but the little girl grieved most of all. She collapsed on the stump of the sacred tree and wept.
A crowd of people gathered on the hillside. After a breathless scramble the little girl and her father were close enough to see three crosses erected on Golgotha’s Hill. They trudged forward. Suddenly, the little girl pointed and gasped, “Papa, look! There are the initials S.T. that I carved on the trunk of our sacred tree. The Man, on the cross in the middle, is being crucified on our sacred tree!”
Voices in the crowd cried out.
“He gave my son his sight.”
“He gave bread to the multitudes.”
“He gave my little girl’s life back to us.”
“He gave me forgiveness.”
“He gave me a fresh start.”
“He gave me hope.”
The father reached for his daughter’s hand. “Of all the gifts King El Shaddai and the sacred tree have given us; I believe this is the greatest Gift of all.”
Hanging on the sacred tree was the most beautiful “decoration” of love the little girl had ever seen. The “lights” of Heaven shone from the eyes of this Man. Scalding tears trickled down the little girl’s face when she saw the “wreath” of thorns around His head and how His blood “garnished” the sacred tree.
The little girl knelt at the foot of the cross. “King El Shaddai grew the sacred tree just for us. He knew one day we would live here and He made a way so one day we could live with Him forever.”
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