Christmas Stories

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The Most Beautiful Thing

The sides of the path were covered with
 rugs of white snow. But in the center,
 its whiteness was crushed and churned
 into a foaming brown by the tramp, 
tramp of hundreds of hurrying feet. It 
was the day before Christmas. People 
rushed up and down the path carrying arm 
loads of bundles. They laughed and called
 to each other as they pushed their way 
through the crowds. 

Above the path, the long arms of an ancient
 tree reached upward to the sky. It swayed 
and moaned as strong winds grasped its 
branches and bent them toward the earth. 
Down below a haughty laugh sounded, and a 
lovely fir tree stretched and preened its 
thick green branches, sending a fine spray 
of snow shimmering downward to the ground. 

"I should think," said the fir in a high smug
 voice, "That you'd try a little harder to 
stand still. Goodness knows you're ugly enough 
with the leaves you've already lost. If you 
move around anymore, you'll soon be quite bare." 

"I know," answered the old tree. "Everything 
has put on its most beautiful clothes for the
celebration of the birth of Christ. Even from
here I can see the decorations shining from 
each street corner. And yesterday some men 
came and put the brightest, loveliest lights 
on every tree along the path--except me of 
course." He sighed softly, and a flake of 
snow melted in the form of a teardrop and 
ran down his gnarled trunk. 

"Oh, indeed! And did you expect they'd put 
lights upon you so your ugliness would stand 
out even more?" smirked the fir. 

"I guess you're right," replied the old tree 
in a sad voice. "If there were only somewhere 
I could hide until after the celebrations are 
over, but here I stand, the only ugly thing 
among all this beauty. If they would only 
come and chop me down," and he sighed 

"Well, I don't wish you any ill will," replied 
the fir, "But you are an eyesore. Perhaps it 
would be better for us all if they came and 
chopped you down." Once again he stretched 
his lovely thick branches. "You might try 
to hang onto those three small leaves you 
still have. At least you wouldn't be 
completely bare." 

"Oh, I've tried so hard," cried the old tree 
"Each fall I say to myself, 'this year I won't
give up a single leaf, no matter what the 
cause,' but someone always comes along who 
seems to need them more than I," And he 
sighed once again. 

"I told you not to give so many to that dirty 
little paper boy," said the fir. "Why you even 
lowered your branches a little bit, so that he 
could reach them. You can't say I didn't warn 
you then." 

"Yes you did at that," the old tree replied. 
"But they made him so happy. I heard him say 
he would pick some for his invalid mother,~ 

"Oh, they all had good causes," mocked the fir, 
that young girl, for instance, colored leaves 
for her party indeed! They were your leaves!" 

"She took a lot, didn't she?" said the old tree, 
and he seemed to smile. 

Just then a cold wind blew down the path and a 
tiny brown bird fell to the ground at the foot of 
the old tree and lay there shivering, too cold to 
lift its wings. The old tree looked down in pity 
and then he quickly let go of his last three 
leaves. The golden leaves fluttered down and 
settled softly over the shivering little bird, 
and it lay there quietly under the warmth of them. 

"Now you've done it!" shrieked the fir. You've 
given away every single leaf! Christmas morning 
you'll make your path the ugliest sight in the 
whole city!" 

The old tree said nothing. Instead he stretched 
out his branches to gather what snowflakes he 
could that they might not fall on the tiny bird. 
The young fir turned away in anger, and it was 
then he noticed a painter sitting quietly a few 
feet from the path, intent upon his long brushes 
and his canvas. His clothes were old and tattered, 
and his face wore a sad expression. He was thinking 
of his loved ones and the empty, cheerless Christmas 
morning they would face, for he had sold not a single
painting in the last months. 

But the little tree didn't see this. Instead he 
turned back to the old tree and said in a haughty
voice, "At least keep those bare branches as far 
away from me as possible. I'm being painted and 
hideousness will mar the background." 

"I'll try," replied the old tree. And he raised 
his branches as high as possible. It was almost 
dark when the painter picked up his easel and left. 
And the little fir was tired and cross from all his 
preening and posing. 

Christmas morning he awoke late, and as he proudly 
shook away the snow from his lovely branches, he 
was amazed to see a huge crowd of people surrounding 
the old tree, ah-ing and oh-ing as they stood back 
and gazed upward. And even those hurrying along the 
path had to stop for a moment to sigh before they 
went on. 

"Whatever could it be?" thought the haughty fir, 
and he too looked up to see if perhaps the top of 
the old tree had been broken off during the night. 

Just then a paper blew away from the hands of an 
enraptured newsboy and sailed straight into the 
young fir. The fir gasped in amazement, for there 
on the front page was a picture of the painter 
holding his painting of a great white tree whose 
leafless branches, laden with snow, stretched 
upward into the sky. While down below lay a tiny 
brown bird almost covered by three golden leaves. 
And beneath the picture were the words, "The Most 
Beautiful Thing Is That Which Hath Given All." 

The young fir quietly bowed its head beneath the 
great beauty of the humble old tree. 

Links to Christmas Stories and the rest of this site

Carol's Christmas stories: Soem really nice christmas stories
James and the Christmas Wagon - Children's Story: Interactive/animated Christmas Story
Christmas Stories and everything christmas: The title says it all
Ali's Christmas wonderland: Stories and music

The Rest of My Christmas Site

I love Christmas home Christmas Recipes: Recipes on site and links to more

Christmas for Kids Games, jokes, write to Santa and more all for Kids
You Have To Believe: A Very Beautiful story
Christmas Cards: Ecards and Printable
Christmas Stories: lots of stories for Christmas
Christmas Links: Links to some really great Christmas pages

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