The Meeting of the Trees

The Meeting of the Trees

Many years ago when the first flurries of snow were falling, the trees of all the forests decided to do something to make Christmas a still happier day. So they held a great meeting in a large forest of the North to see what gift they could give to mankind on Christmas Day. Every kind of tree was present, and they all agreed that a big oak tree was to preside at the meeting.

At once the oak called the meeting to order. This is what he said, "My dear fellow-trees, I am happy to see so many of you here. We have something very important to decide today. Soon it will be Christmas. That is a day of giving gifts, so we also want to give something. Besides God, we trees are man's oldest friends and with our branches we wave gladness to them. We are older than man and we live longer. I think we receive our greatest joy in giving and certainly Christmas is a time of giving. We enrich the soil with our falling leaves, we give shade, and in our shade we cause the clear water to come to the surface to quench man's thirst. We give lumber to mankind for their homes to shield them from the cold of winter and the heat of summer. We supply the wood to heat their homes; and some of us grow the fruit for man to eat."

To everything the oak said, the other trees nodded their heads in agreement.

"It will not be easy," continued the oak, "to find a gift appropriate for Christmas."

With this they also agreed, and then there followed a long discussion as to what they could do that would add to the happiness of all people at Christmas. The stately elm listened with a great deal of interest. Finally he asked the oak for permission to make a suggestion.

"It seems to me," said the elm, "that we could make the various families happiest if one of us would go directly into their homes to spend the Christmas holidays with them."

"Yes," added the maple tree, "We could also be in their churches and on the streets of their villages and cities spreading Christmas cheer."

"These suggestions are very good," now said the tall pine tree, "but who of us will volunteer to do this?"

Then the oak tree said, "I think we should not ask for a volunteer, we ought to select a tree best suited to represent the spirit of Christmas."

"And what tree is that?" asked the oak.

This question was followed by a long silence as a chilly northern wind swayed the branches of all the trees as if to stir them into action. The trees looked at one another wondering which one would receive the honor of spending the Christmas holidays in the homes of the many families.

Then the hickory tree asked for permission to speak. "As I look at myself and all of us here," he said, "I notice that the leaves have fallen from all of our branches, but there is one tree among us that is always green both winter and summer."

No sooner had the hickory tree said this, than all of the trees looked at the evergreen. There the evergreen stood in all her beauty, the needles as green as in summer, with a sprinkle of pure white snow upon her branches. The other trees recognized at once that the evergreen should become the Christmas tree to cheer the hearts of young and old.

The linden tree approvingly nodded his head saying, "The evergreen is the only one among us that can bring living green foliage to our friend man, when the winter winds blow and snow covers the ground."

"But my choice of the evergreen has reasons even deeper than that," continued the hickory.

"What are those reasons?" asked the oak, the chairman of the meeting.

"The evergreen represents what Christmas should mean to our friends, the girls and boys, the men and women," replied the hickory. "She will fill the homes with fragrance in the cold, bleak winter. Christmas means that when the world was dark, dreary and cruel, God gave His Son Jesus to make it a happier and more beautiful place. Jesus has made the world happier and better with the fragrance of His beautiful life."

"Not only that," continued the hickory, "the fact that the evergreen is always green means that Jesus came to bring us everlasting life. The needles on the evergreen do not die in winter, and people who take Jesus as their Savior live forever with Him in heaven. That is what Christmas means. 'God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.'"

"Also, the evergreen has the shape of a spire, pointing upward to God," added the hickory. "It will remind all men that Jesus came on Christmas Day to point all men to God."

The evergreen was the unanimous choice of all the trees. She thanked them all for the honor which they had bestowed upon her. And ever since then the evergreen has been the symbol of Christmas. The meeting of the trees was adjourned. They had added much to the Christmas cheer.

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