The Ugly, Little Tree

The tree surely wasn’t much to look at –
rather small, with crooked trunk, downright scrawny.
Its peers were all nicely shaped – tall, full, and fat.
All were now being trucked to fulfill their destiny.

Some states away, the trees were grandly displayed
upon a lot. As one by one, families took the other
trees home, the little tree waited; the little tree stayed –
unwanted, judged unworthy one time after another.

The days hurriedly passed. It became Christmas Eve.
A young woman, a recently married college student,
had been hospitalized for weeks. “I truly believe
allowing her to go home for Christmas is prudent,”

her doctor explained. “It’ll do her good, lift her spirit,
and make her stronger for her upcoming operation
in January.” Her family immediately saw the merit
in her participating in an at-home holiday celebration.

Her husband stayed to bring her home later in the day.
Her parents and brother headed for her apartment
to decorate for Christmas. “A tree! There’s no way
to have Christmas without a tree…the disappointment

would be too great.” So, the father and brother were sent
to find a tree…but all the lots were empty, were closed.
Finally, they saw the one forlorn little tree. “It’s meant
to be. This small, ugly tree will have to do, I suppose.”

The lot was deserted. As they loaded the car with the tree,
“Are we not stealing this Christmas tree, Dad?” the son
asked. “We are merely rescuing it. It’s now trash, you see.”
Back at the apartment, “Is this the best you could have done?”

His wife eyed the tree with disapproval filling her face.
“It’s crooked, too short, has gaps in places, is half-dead…”
They found their daughter’s decorations’ storage place
and set about decorating the tree. Soon, their initial dread

gave way to surprise at how pretty all the twinkling light
strands and ornaments looked adorning the tree. “Not bad!”
was their final assessment. In their daughter’s eyes delight
sparkled upon viewing the decorations. “I am truly so glad

“to be home for Christmas. I can see the love of family here,”
the daughter cried, as she examined all of their decorating.
“The tree is simply beautiful. The best tree ever…” A tear
streaked her father’s face – his daughter he was appreciating.

Years later the daughter would tell her parents, “Never a tree
have I ever had…or could I have…that I appreciated any more
than that one – small, misshapen, scraggly as it was to see,
yet it was adorned with such deep love as I’d never felt before.”

Harry Edward Gilleland      12.20.04    printer friendly