by L. H. Hall
God's Christmas Tree
nearly bedtime. The others were playing with their puppies. I took
my puppy, Bruno, and went out to the patio. I wanted to sit alone
in the starlight, and think about our future. I was hoping God
would give me some answers. I had just jumped up on table rock when
Sarah jumped up beside me. "What are we going to do?" She asked.
clothes. We all have holes in our underwear, and Debbie tore a big
hole in the front of hers coming back from the trip today."
I've been concerned about this ever since I saw your ragged dress
that first day and looked at my pants. I don't know what to do."
we'll all be worse off than she is in another week."
"I know, and
I don't know what to do about it. I don't know if there is anything
we can do about it."
mean we're going to have to go without clothes."
been able to think of any other way, but maybe we can figure
something out. If only those animal skins didn't get so hard and
stiff. There is a way to make them soft. 'Tanning,' I think they
call it, but I don't know how to do it."
either, but, Timmy, what else can we do?"
I've been in
some villages in the islands where boys and girls our ages never
wear clothes, but we weren't raised that way. It would be
for me, at first anyway, but I don't think Debbie and Julie would
care. Debbie wanted to take her panties off as soon as she tore
them, but I told her to wait."
think Jamie would care either. He would probably enjoy it. He used
to always want to take his clothes off."
think Debbie should be the only one."
either, but let's hold off as long as we can. Maybe, we'll figure
something out. Like you said, we all have holes in our underwear.
Hers is just in the wrong place. Julie's ragged dress was white,
you try putting a piece of it inside her underwear over the hole.
Maybe it will stay in place. That might give us a little longer to
figure something out."
"We can try
that. I wish I had a diaper pin."
been paying a lot of attention to her?"
think so. I doubt if he even knows she tore her pants."
him out here while you fix her up."
“What do you
want?" Jamie asked.
just wanted you to see how beautiful the stars are tonight. It kind
of reminds you of a big Christmas tree, doesn't it?"
does! It's the biggest Christmas tree ever."
out here every night for us to look at."
thought of it like that before. How come you just wanted me to see
it, and not the girls."
needed to have a few minutes of private time with her sisters. They
can come out and see it in a minute. Then we need to get ready for
We sat in
silence for a minute or two looking into the sky. My thoughts had
drifted to the future, and our survival, when Sarah called, "You
boys better come in it's bedtime."
Jamie said. "Look at the big Christmas tree. We've got the
biggest Christmas tree ever."
"I don't see
no Christmas tree," Julie contended.
neither," Debbie concurred
look!" Jamie pointed at the sky.
no Christmas tree. Those are stars in the sky." Debbie argued.
God's Christmas tree." I agreed with Jamie. "Use your
imagination. Look at all the lights."
magi--whatever you said?" Julie wanted to know.
"Imagination? That's what you, use when your pretending, and
playing a game."
Christmas tree," Sarah pondered. "I've been wishing we could have a
Christmas tree with lots of lights, and God has given us the biggest
one ever. Thank you God for the beautiful Christmas tree."
Momma and Daddy can see it." Jamie spoke my own thoughts.
"I hope ours
can too." Sarah choked back a sob, her voice breaking.
they can wherever they are," I assured them.
not in heaven, they must be having a terrible Christmas," Sarah
"Why do you
say that?" I asked
they're still alive, they think we're dead"
they miss us as much as we miss them," Julie stated matter of factly.
more," Debbie nodded
know." I did not think that was possible. "We miss'em a whole lot.
Why don't we go in and read the Bible, before we all start crying
for our folks."
word, my homesick family moved to the firelight in the cave. I got
the Bible, but I did not read. "I'm going to tell you a story about
a boy in the Bible who had it worse than we do."
it worse than we do?" Jamie sighed.
was Joseph. He had ten big brothers, a big sister, and a little
brother. His mother was dead, and his ten big brothers hated him,
because their dad loved him more than them.
when his big brothers were in the fields with the sheep, Joseph's
dad sent him to check and make sure everything was all right.
Joseph was wearing a beautiful coat his dad had made for him. When
his big brothers saw him coming, they decided to kill him and tell
their dad the wild animals had eaten him. His oldest brother, who
wanted to save Joseph, said, 'Why don't we just throw him in this
hole and leave him? He will die, but we won't have to kill him.'
The oldest brother really intended to come back and save him, but
before he could, some merchants from another country came along."
merchant?" Julie wanted to know.
is somebody who buys and sells things, stupid." Jamie was upset
because Julie had interrupted the story.
enough of that kind of talk, Jamie!" I reprimanded him. "Julie is
not stupid. She's just young, and hasn't learned all the words you
know. You owe her an apology."
Julie. I was just getting interested in the story, even if I have
heard it before."
merchants from another country came by," I continued, "and Joseph's
other brothers sold him to them as a slave for twenty pieces of
silver. That's about twenty dollars."
people took Joseph to Egypt, and sold him to somebody else. His new
master liked him, and put him in charge of everything in his
house. After a while the master's wife told a big lie on Joseph.
His master was so angry he had Joseph thrown in prison.
hadn't done anything to hurt anybody, but he had been sold as a
slave and thrown in prison. In the same prison were two men who had
worked for the king. They both had dreams, and Joseph told them
what they meant."
mean something, Timmy?" Julie asked. "I have lots of dreams."
has lots of dreams. Most of them don't mean a thing, but once in a
while God tells people things in dreams. Sometimes they understand
what He is saying, and sometimes they don't. When they don't
understand the dream, it bothers them until they find out what it
never have any dreams like that." Julie admitted
neither," agreed Debbie
because you're little, and God talks to your parents instead of
you" Jamie thought he knew the answer. "Go on with the story,
one of the prisoners that in three days the king would take him out
of jail, and give him his old job back, and Joseph asked the man to
tell the king about him. That is exactly what happened. The
prisoner got out of jail and got his old job back, but he forgot all
two years later, the king had a dream. It kept bothering him, but
nobody could tell him what it meant. Then the guy remembered
Joseph, and told the king how Joseph had told him what his dream
meant. Immediately the king sent for Joseph, and God helped him
understand the king's dream. Joseph told the king what to do about
it to save his country. It was so important, the king made Joseph
the ruler of the whole kingdom. The only person in all of Egypt who
didn't have to do what Joseph said was the king, himself.
"Now if God
could save Joseph out of slavery and prison and make him ruler of
the whole big country of Egypt, don't you think He can save us from
this little island, and take us back to our parents?"
really, and truly, a true story, Timmy?" Julie asked.
is. My momma told me that story." Jamie considered that proof.
That did not prove anything to Debbie. "It's not really true, is
"It's in the
Bible, and if it's in the Bible, its true. Just like it's true,
that the dolphins saved you from the sea."
about the dolphins saving us ain't in the Bible." Debbie said.
agreed, "but it could be, if it had happened a long time ago,
because it's true. The dolphins did save us, didn't they?"
they sure hurt. It still hurts."
rose to a kneeling position. "Let's say our prayers."
had ended. We were all still alive and healthy. At least we were
getting over our injuries, and I saw no reason why we could not
survive another day. We really had much to be thankful for. I only
wished that we could let our loved ones know that we were still
alive. I looked across my little family, and saw Sheba lying there
between us and the door. I relaxed. "Thank you, Lord, for Sheba and
her pups who will take care of us, if you leave us here that long.
Please, Lord, send someone to help us, and show me what to do until
they come. And be with Momma and Daddy, and Mr. and Mrs. Jennings.
Let them know that we are all right."
Leonard H. Hall, Sr.