The First Christmas Tree
In a forest in the far, far East grew a great many pine trees.
Most of them were tall trees, higher than the houses that we
see, and with wide, strong branches. But there was one tree that
was not nearly so tall as the others; in fact, it was no taller
than some of the children in the kindergarten.
Now, the tall trees could see far,
far out over the hilltops and into the valleys, and they could
hear all the noises that went on in the world beyond the forest,
but the Little Tree was so small and the other
trees grew so high and thick about it that it could not see nor
hear these things at all; but the other trees were very kind,
and they would stoop down and tell them to the Little Tree. One
night in the winter
time there seemed to be something strange happening in the little
town among the hills, for the trees did not go to sleep after
the sun went down, but put their heads together and spoke in
strange, low whispers
that were full of awe and wonder. The Little Tree, from its place
close down to the ground, did not understand what it was all
about. It listened awhile, and then lifted its head as high as
ever it could and shouted to its tall neighbor: "Will you
not stoop and tell me what is happening?" And the big tree
stooped down and whispered: "The shepherds out on the hilltops
are telling strange stories while they watch their sheep. The
air is filled with sweet music, and there is a wonderful star
coming up in the east, traveling westward always, and the shepherds
say that they are waiting for it to stop and shine over a humble
stable in their little town. I have not heard why it is going
to stop there, but I will look again and listen." So the
tall tree lifted up its head again, and reached far out so that
it might hear more of the wonderful story.
Bye and bye it stooped down again, and whispered to the Little
"Oh, Little Tree, listen! There
are angels among the shepherds on the hills, and they are all
talking together. They seem to be awaiting the birth of a little
child, who will be a king among the people, and the beautiful
star will shine above the stable where the little king will
be laid in a manger."
The tree again raised its head to listen,
and the Little Tree, much puzzled, thought within itself: "It
is very strange, indeed.
* * *
Oh, how I wish that I could see it
It waited a little longer, and everything grew quiet, and a
great peace came upon the forest.
* * *
Then suddenly the town, and even the forest was illuminated
with a strange, white light that made everything as bright as
day, and the air was filled with the flutter of angels' wings,
and with music such as the world had never heard before.
The people and the trees, even the stars in the heaven, lifted
up their voices and sang together and the whole world was
filled with music and joy and love for the little Christ-child
who had come to dwell upon the earth.
The Little Tree was filled with fear
and wonder, for so great was the excitement that the other
trees had almost forgotten it, and it could not understand
the mysterious sounds; but bye and bye its tall friend said, "Listen,
listen, Little Tree! Such news I have to tell! The Christ has
come--the King! And the whole world is singing such beautiful
music. There are wise men coming from the East, bringing beautiful
gifts to the Christ-child. The angels, too, are upon the earth,
and they bear gifts of gold and rare, beautiful stones. Wait!
I will tell you more."
The tall tree had scarcely lifted up
its head when it stooped again and whispered to the Little
Tree, "Look! Look! Little
Tree! They are coming this way; the angels are coming here, into
our forest! Lift up your head high and you will see them as they
The Little Tree lifted up its head and saw the white flutter
of angel robes and heard the weird, sweet voices of the heavenly
host who came with precious gifts into the forest.
"Oh," said the Little Tree, "they are coming
here, toward me! What shall I do?" And in fear it bent its
head so low that it almost touched the ground.
But the music
came nearer and nearer, and the Little Tree felt a tender hand
upon its branches, and a soft, gentle voice said to it, "Arise,
Little Tree, and come with us, for we have come into the forest
to seek you. Yes, you, the very smallest among the trees, are
to be our gift-bearer. Come; lift up your head."
In fear and trembling the Little Tree
did as the angel bade it. But when it looked into the angel's
face and saw the love and kindness there, all fear was gone,
and it said to the angel: "Yes;
make me ready. I will come with you to the little Christ-child
in the manger."
So all the angels brought their gifts of
precious jewels and shining gold, and fastened them upon the
branches of the Little Tree. Then the leader of the angels'
band took up the Little Tree from the ground and bore it, laden
with its precious burden, to the feet of the Christ-child.