Merry Christmas Everyone!
This will be a record breaking length of blog entry for me. I hope you enjoy this story, my gift to you. God bless you all and may this season be filled with thanksgiving and love for Jesus Christ.
T. L. Wiens
There was once a town that existed like all the other towns around it. People went about their days doing their tasks without much thought about why they existed. Then a man came to town. He was a very wise man who taught the townspeople many things. Suddenly they understood their existence.
Once the man was sure they understood, he told the people to remember his words. He gave them a book so they could always remember what he’d taught them.
“I must leave you now,” he told them. “It is up to all of you to carry on the work I have started.”
With that, he left.
The townspeople considered how they would keep the words of the man in their memories. They decided to plant a tree in the center of town as a symbol of remembrance. They all took turns watering and nurturing the tree.
The years went by and the tree became strong and tall. Around it, many young saplings sprung out of the ground. The townspeople faithfully cared for the trees.
A family moved into the town around the time the townspeople had a public meeting as to who would take the job of caring for the tree grove that was very important to the town but people’s lives were too busy to spend their days caring for it. A young boy from the new family stood.
“I would like to know why this tree is so important.”
No one seemed to know but assured him this tree and those around it were very important and must be cared for. The boy was confused but felt he was up to the task of caring for these trees in hopes that somehow doing this job would reveal the tree’s secrets.
He was faithful in his work. He worked up the soil near the base of the trees, removing all the weeds and in his desire to do a good job, unearthed the book the man had left so many years earlier. He read it, amazed by the wisdom of it. He knew the reason for the tree and hurried to tell the townspeople but they were too busy to hear this small child.
The boy began praying the man who had imparted the wisdom found in the book would come back—maybe the townspeople would listen to him.
One day, an old man appeared at the edge of the tree grove. He was dressed in rags and looked hungry and tired. The boy spotted him and felt compassion for him.
“Would you like to share my lunch?” he asked.
The man gratefully accepted. After they ate, they sat back to admire the tree grove.
“So tell me, young man, why is this tree grove here in this place where so few trees grow?”
“I don’t exactly know,” the boy replied. “The townspeople all say this is a very important tree to this town but no one seems to know why. Then I found this book at the base of the tree and read its words but do not fully understand them.”
“Could you show me this book?”
The boy nodded. He soon came back holding the weathered old book. It was in great disrepair, the binding letting go and the words smudged from the time spent under the ground.
The old man took the book and held it in his hand, his eyes filling with tears to see the condition it was in. He shook his head at the truth of it.
The boy stared at the old man and knew—this was the author of the book.
“I have been waiting and praying for you,” the boy declared. “You must tell them the meaning of the tree. They will listen to you.”
The old man shook his head again. “No son, they won’t see. They are more interested in the symbol than its true meaning.”
With those words, the old man stood and headed down the street out of town. The boy cried.
Shortly after the encounter with the old man, the boy noticed one of the saplings was sick. He consulted many books and discovered the disease of this sapling could destroy the whole grove. He hurried to tell the townspeople.
“What do you think we should do?” one of the elders of the town asked him.
“We have to destroy this sapling before the disease spreads.”
The townspeople thought that was too drastic. They ordered the boy to do whatever he could but not to destroy the sick sapling.
Soon other saplings were getting sick. Their once vibrant branches were empty sticks hanging in the air. The boy went to the elders again, pleading with them to allow him to remove the sick trees. The elders would not hear of it. They had raised this grove of trees up out of nothing and weren’t about to let anyone remove anything from it.
The boy watched as all the trees in the grove became sick until all that was left was the great tree and the dead saplings surrounding it. The boy made one more plea to the elders but again they refused to listen. Soon the leaves of the great tree also began to turn brown as the life of the tree was eaten away by the disease. Soon all that stood in the grove were dead trees, stripped of the majesty they once displayed.
The townspeople called a meeting. They all blamed the boy for the trees’ demise. He hadn’t done enough to care for their important tree. The boy and his family fled the town for fear of his life.
Some years later, he returned to the town. He saw the townspeople gathered around the dead trees. It appeared they were worshiping them. The boy hung his head in sadness as he slipped away.
On his way out of town, he was joined by the old man.
“Why do they stand and worship this dead thing?” the boy asked.
The old man put his arm around him. “They have mistaken the symbol for what it stands for. They think the power is in the tree.”
The boy nodded. “How can I prevent from falling into this trap?”
“Have you still got the book?”
“Read it. Live it and believe in me.”
The old man vanished as suddenly as he appeared. The boy smiled. The old man was so much more than what he appeared to be and the words of the book were the truth he represented. The tree was not the source of the life—only a symbol of it. The boy opened the book and began to read finding the words had new depth and meaning—he now understood.