Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Christmas Tree (10/09/08)
TITLE: AN ANGEL TREE
By Colin Swann
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The forest people had suffered persecution for many years from a grotesque monster called Bython. He was a giant with three heads and had arms that twisted like giant serpents. Many of the forest people had had their life squeezed out of them by his snake arms. He would then take them to his cave on Mount Arkevil and boil them in a pot for his next meal.
Andron, who was the good angel of the forest tried to protect the families but Bython was crafty and sometimes outwitted him.
In the middle of the forest was a clearing. At the time of the annual seed falling a pine cone from a father pine fell into the center of the clearing and found its rest in the womb of the earth. After two leaf falls a seed from the cone began to spring into life.
The trees of the forest, in their jealousy, said to Andron, “Why are you always hovering over the sapling in the clearing and nurturing him as though he was something special?”
“The Great Maker of the forest has ordered me to attend and protect his special creation. The tree in the clearing is comely, and has holy roots, and will become a helper in the rescuing of the forest people.”
This revealed knowledge made the trees hate him all the more.
There came a time when Andron addressed all the forest trees, “It is the time for the liberation of the foresters from the evil giant. Who will go forth and be a vessel of use for the Maker's plan?”
A long silence fell. After what seemed like an eternity the sapling of the clearing spoke, “I will go and do the Forest Maker's will.”
Later, a ripple of fear spread among the pines. The woodman was again prowling the forest with his gleaming axe looking for a suitable tree for his next carpentry construction. The fear that the trees felt soon turned to confusion when the axe-man chopped down the small sapling in the clearing and dragged it away. Never before had such a small fir been taken by him.
The holy tree was hacked, hammered and nailed and made into a menial animal implement. A passing traveler bought the animal feeding-box and placed it in the stable annexed to his inn. Travelers' donkeys ate from it for several years then something wonderful happened.
A small Holy Child was placed in the hay and the manger was used for his crib. The sacrificed sapling knew he was privileged to be a bed for the Holy Child. When the child's small chubby fingers touched his wooden structure it was as if he had come back to life.
In the stable the angel Andron again appeared and hovered over the fir tree manger before saying, “This is the Holy Infant who will rescue the people harassed by the evil one. You are privileged to be the first tree to mark this child's birth.
'Look around and see the Holy One's nativity: The hustle and bustle of sojourners bedding down their asses.
'The shepherds worshipping the child and the angels singing in the heights.
'The suckling child and his loving parents. Mark this scene well and whenever this Nativity is recalled you will always be linked to the child and the picture of this scene.”
The Crib answered, “I lost my life in the forest but now I am revived by the Holy Child and you Andron are again hovering over me. Will you now be my companion forever?”
“The Mighty One has appointed me to be always with you and to make you forever a tree of fame.”
Andron's words were fulfilled, and now, even to this day, those saved by the Rescuer, each year, erect a sapling fir in their homes and place an angel over it in remembrance of AN ANGEL TREE.
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