"" Writer's Wanderings: December 2021

Sunday, December 26, 2021

The Legend of the Christmas Apple

 [This is the story I wrote to read at our Christmas Eve service. Some have asked for a copy of it.] 

Once upon a time there was a little boy who found a beautiful red apple in his Christmas stocking. This was not an unusual occurrence at Christmas. It seemed every year there was a bright red apple, sweet and delicious, in his stocking. But why, he wondered?

 The boy went to his grandfather who took him on his knee and explained that there was a legend about the Christmas apple. The story went something like this:

 Long ago there was a young boy who lived near Bethlehem and was very curious. He loved looking up in the night skies and seeing the stars. He found a nice tree he could climb and get closer to the stars but he could never reach out and touch them.

 One night the stars shone with unusual brilliance. As he leaned against the trunk of the tree, he reached out and grabbed a piece of fruit growing on the tree and took a bite. He immediately spit it out. It was sour. He threw it to the ground.

 Just then the sky above him seemed to grow brighter. A large star moved across the sky and seemed to stop overhead near him. He had heard the rumor. Could this be the star that was said to arrive when the Messiah was born?

 Suddenly the branch cracked and before he knew what happened, he was on the ground. He sat for a moment, stunned at the fall. A hand reached out to help him up. It was the hand of a man dressed all in white.

 “Yes, it is the star of the Messiah,” the man said. The boy wondered if he had spoken his question aloud.

 “This very night He is born. Go and worship Him,” the man said as he helped the boy to his feet.

 “But I have nothing to offer him,” the boy said.

 “Take this fruit,” said the man picking a piece from the tree. “It tells much of what the Messiah will mean to you.”

 The boy stared at the fruit in his hand. “But this fruit is bitter. It is not a fit gift for a king,” he said.

 “Just as the Christ Child will change lives, this gift too will be changed. Just as His red blood will drop from a tree for all mankind, this fruit will turn red and drop from this tree. But the red skin will make the flesh inside white and pure just as Christ’s blood will cleanse man’s sins. The taste of the fruit will become sweet. He who partakes of a new life in Christ will find a sweeter life too. The seed will be planted and multiply and produce more fruit just as God’s message of salvation will be planted and nourished through the birth of this Child tonight.”

 As the boy turned the fruit over in his hand and studied it he tried to understand what the man in white had said. He looked up again, another question on his lips, but the man had disappeared.

 The boy heard a group of shepherds passing by say they were on their way to worship the newborn King. He joined them.

 The stable they found was no place for a baby let alone a king but his mind was so filled with wonder and excitement that the boy failed to question the odd situation. He moved forward and knelt, carefully placing the fruit in the straw that cradled the Child. As he did, the baby looked at him and smiled.

 When the boy stepped back again, he glanced at his gift. Instead of the green fruit he had placed there, he saw a beautiful shining piece of red fruit. He remembered the words of the man in white. But how could a baby change men’s lives?

 As the boy grew and became a follower of Jesus, his life was filled with a joy and peace that made it sweet because of the sacrifice made for him and all men by Jesus. The boy took many children to the old fruit tree that now bore beautiful red fruit when it ripened.

 The grandfather looked at his grandson and took the apple to cut it in half as he said, “The boy explained to those children as they gathered around the tree, that the Christ child came into the world to save mankind from all the bad things they do.

 “You see,” said the grandfather, “The red color of the apple reminds us of His sacrifice and when you cut the apple open, you can see the sweet white flesh that reminds us of how Jesus changes our lives when we receive Him as Savior.”

 “But what about the seeds, Grandpa?” the grandson asked.

 “Ah, yes, the seeds.” The grandfather picked one seed from the apple. “The seed is a very important part of the apple. When planted and nourished it will produce more fruit just like the seeds of faith when planted and nourished can produce beautiful fruit in our lives and the lives of others.

 The Christmas apple, you see, reminds us of the wonderful gift God gave through Jesus, his Son.

 Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the apples in a seed. Robert H. Schuller

 This Christmas, I pray that we can each plant one seed of faith and that it might bear much fruit.

 Merry Christmas!  


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