Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Christmas Tree (10/09/08)
TITLE: The Easter Tree
By Lollie Hofer
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“Hi Sis, it’s Ryan. What’s up?” he asked not expecting the onslaught that was about to come his way.
“Are you crazy, Ryan? What were you thinking?”
“Um, could you be a little more specific? Now what did I do?”
Pacing up and down the hallway, Susan told Ryan what she thought of his Sunday School lesson. Her son Paul was in his Sunday School class. Here it was two weeks before Christmas, and Paul had come home from church with colored Easter eggs and chocolate covered bunnies. “I didn’t even know you could buy Easter candy at Christmastime! Isn’t it bad enough that they’ve started putting up Christmas decorations before the first leaf of the season turns red? Now you want to start pushing Easter before we can even enjoy the winter holidays.”
Susan heard a chuckle on the other end of the telephone. “Oh, you think this is funny do you? I appreciate how you enjoy teaching the kids. But let’s face it, you’ve taught some pretty strange stuff the last couple years.” Susan ranted and raved for a few minutes about some of Ryan’s weird ideas.
“Okay, okay. My teaching style is somewhat offbeat but aren’t you overreacting just a little? Why don’t you tell me what’s really bugging you.”
She took a deep breath before answering. “Ryan, I agreed to let Paul go to church with you on one condition, that it doesn’t affect my family’s lifestyle in any way. I’ve put up with Paul coming home telling me that people are praying for me. I’ve put up with him begging me to go to church. But now Paul tells me he’s saved. He tells me Jesus is his Savior and that I need to get saved too.” Unexpectedly, tears began to flow. “What am I suppose to do with that?” Susan demanded. “To make matters worse, he wants to put up an Easter tree. For crying out loud, what is an Easter tree?”
Ryan replied, “Sis, why don’t I come over to the house? I’ll explain the Easter eggs and tree once I’m there.”
Susan, with hands wrapped around a cup of cocoa, tried to grasp what Ryan was telling her. “Let me get this straight, you celebrated Easter at Christmastime because if there was no Easter, then there would be no Christmas? Oh yeah, that really cleared things up for me!”
Ryan explained his reasons behind his bizarre statement. He shared how Jesus had a specific purpose in being born at the manger in Bethlehem. Throughout the last three years of his life, Jesus reached out to needy people; always proclaiming to be the Son of God. Ryan told his sister how Jesus suffered and died on the cross, but also how He came back to life on the third day. He stated how Jesus’ resurrection proved He truly was the Son of God.
“Susan, if Jesus hadn’t come back to life, then everything He said up to His death would have been a lie. He would not have been the Son of God. Christmas wouldn’t even exist. I wanted to remind the kids that Jesus was indeed who He said he was by taking them to the cross at Christmastime.”
Susan replied quietly, “Ryan, this is too much for me right now. I’m still not sure this is the direction I want my family to go. One more question though, what IS an Easter tree?”
Ryan laughed, “Come with me, sis. I brought it with me; it’s out in the yard.”
Once they were outside, Susan’s tears began to fall again. Leaning against the garage door was a rugged tree that had been nailed together in the shape of a cross. The children had painted it bright red to represent Jesus’ shed blood. Across the top of the cross, they had made their own sign. It read, “Jesus, Truly the Living Son of God.” Taped to the Easter tree, were the names of loved ones whom the children wanted to hear the good news of the resurrected Jesus. Susan’s name was at the top.
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