Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Christmas Tree (10/09/08)
TITLE: The Marble Tree
By Holly Westefeld
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"Whose do you think that one is?" Shaun whispered, pointing at an irregularly shaped package wrapped in red under the coffee table.
"Gotta be one of ours. Mom and Dad always give each other small stuff."
"Sneaking a peek, I see." The boys turned to see their mother, in robe and slippers, smiling down at them. "Dad will be out in a minute."
"You guys are up as early as we were as kids," Dad mock-grumbled, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. "I wish I could show you pictures of the real Christmas trees we had back then, but it would have been too dangerous to keep them."
"Jack, dear, your reminiscing is keeping two excited ten-year-olds from their presents."
"You're right, Tina. Go ahead guys."
Gathering around the glass coffee table, Tina touched the base of a lamp on the floor beneath, back-lighting the Chinese Checker board on the table.
"Can we tell the story this year?" Shane bobbed up and down on his knees.
"That'd be great!" A grin spread from Jack's lips to his twinkling eyes.
Shaun began, pointing at the carefully arranged marbles on the board. "This tree reminds us that we were created by one living God, and that He sent his Son to give us everlasting life, like an evergreen. The government when He was born tried to kill him when he was a baby, and did kill him when he grew up, just like our government has tried to kill him. But He cannot be killed in our hearts."
Shane continued. "The purplish-black sky reminds us of the darkness of sin, but the gold star reminds us of how God led people to find the baby Jesus in the manger. The one on the top of the tree does too, and that Jesus is the light of the world."
"The blue balls on the tree remind us of the water Jesus was baptized in, showing his obedience to God the Father. The red ones are like the blood He gave for us on the cross."
"The white lights on the tree, and the snow beneath, show that Jesus blood turns the blackness of our sin as white as snow. The triangle shape of the tree stands for God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."
Tina swallowed the lump in her throat. "That's right. You guys did a great job!"
She handed the red package to Shaun, and the blue one to Shane. Shredding the paper, the boys squealed in delight, holding up their first real hologram projector and senses simulator.
Tina and Jack exchanged their gifts, unnoticed by their exuberant children.
"Jack, where in the world did you find such an exquisite hand-carved lamb?"
"Probably in a place similar to where you found my lion pocket watch."
Tina whisked the paper away to the trash disposal chute. When she returned, there was a 3d hologram of their marble tree, complete with night sky and snow. "That's beautiful." She blinked quickly. "But you know you must not save that in memory or on a chip."
"Yes, Mom, we know."
They were just finishing breakfast when there was a knock at the door. "I wonder who that could be so early," Jack said, as they all jumped to their feet and scurried back to the living room. Jack stood poised at the door, Shane deleted the hologram, and Tina up-ended the Christmas tree scene back into a random assortment of marbles in the box.
"Well, good morning, Skyler. You're up early today."
"Good morning, Mr. Nicholas. Is it too early for Shaun and Shane to play?"
"Not at all," Jack smiled, stepping aside. They were just experimenting with a couple of new gadgets, and Mrs. Nicholas and I are cleaning up from breakfast."
Skyler gave only a passing glance at the old-fashioned marble game before ooing and ahhing over the twins hologram machine and senses simulator.
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