The Christmas Tree

Dear friends, have you ever wondered how the Christmas tree came to be? A little tale:

When Jesus was born, excitement animated every living thing. For days people came from all over to see the child and bring him their humble gifts.

Near the stable where the gathering occurred were three trees: a palm, an olive, and a fir. Seeing the people pass under their branches, the trees were taken with delight. Wishing to celebrate also, they decided to bestow their own gifts upon the child Jesus.

“I shall grant him by biggest palm, to gently fan the child,” said the palm tree.

“I shall squeeze my olives to anoint his little feet,” said the olive tree.

“But what can I give?” asked the fir. At this the other trees laughed. “You have nothing to offer” they said, “for your needles are sharp and might scratch the baby, and your resin is too strong, and sticks to everything it touches.”

At this the fir bowed with sadness, “Ah, alas you are right, I have nothing to offer. Give your gifts without me, and bestow honor on the little child.”

As the fir said this, an angel standing by heard the tree and took pity. A tree so humble and devoid of envy wished only to make an offering, thought the angel, so he called to the sky to send down tiny stars to land upon the tree. They did so willingly, and the tree found itself glowing.

From where he lay, little Jesus could see the tree, and his eyes began to shine before the beautiful lights. The tree was delighted, and ever since the fir has celebrated the birthday of Jesus.

Ludwig Richter, 1874