Ellie’s Christmas Hope

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“We’re here!” said Justin’s dad as he parked the van. “Let’s go find us a tree.” Justin, his two-year-old sister, Ellie, and their parents hurried into the Christmas Tree Barn, excited to find the best Christmas tree.

“I want pink!” shouted Ellie as she pulled Justin through the front door.

“No, Ellie,” Justin said with a scowl. “We don’t want a pink tree. Yuck!”

Justin’s parents chuckled at their kids. Ellie’s favorite color changed a lot. Lately, she wanted everything to be pink. But Justin did not agree—not one bit!

“Let’s look over there, Ellie,” Justin suggested. “Those look like real trees.”

Ellie let her big brother lead her by the hand as they walked past all the fancy-colored fake trees: blue, purple, white. And there it was—the most spectacular tree Ellie had ever seen. It was tall and full, but best of all, it was completely pink! Sparkly decorations hung all over it, and glossy ribbons curled in and out of the pink branches. Ellie reached out and touched the ribbon. The whole tree wavered. The ornaments swayed back and forth. Justin jumped forward and grabbed Ellie’s hand. He was afraid the whole tree would tip over!

“Whoa! Be careful, Ellie. No touching, remember?” Justin reminded her.

Ellie looked up, up, up and saw a beautiful pink star perched on the tippy-top of the tree! Ellie couldn’t believe her eyes. “Look, Jussin!” she exclaimed. “Da pink star is sooo pretty!”

“Come on, Ellie,” Justin said as he tugged on her hand. “Mom and Dad are over there. Let’s go.” Justin pulled Ellie along, but Ellie stared back at the pink tree unable to take her eyes away from it.

“Hey, Ellie,” said Dad, “how about this tree? It’s just your size.”

Ellie didn’t even look at the little tree her dad was talking about. She just pointed back to the glorious pink tree. “Pink?” she asked hopefully.

Dad grinned. “Well, I guess we know what her choice is,” he said to Mom. “Let’s go this way and see what else they’ve got.” Dad led the way, zig-zagging between the trees inside the barn. Then he went right out the back door where there were even more trees still in the ground.

Justin stopped and stared. “Wow! That’s a lot of trees.”

“Those haven’t been cut yet,” Dad explained. “But if we find one we like, the store owner will cut it down for us.”

“The path is a little muddy,” said Dad as he lifted Ellie up onto his shoulders.

“This tree is nice,” said Mom as she and Dad started down the first row.

Justin tromped along the path in his rain boots, looking at the trees as he followed his parents. It was a little dark in between the trees, so Justin didn’t notice the squishy mud hole until he stepped right into it. Goosh! His left foot sank into the gloppy mud. Justin tried to wriggle his foot free, but it was stuck. Then Justin felt the cold, wet mud ooze into his sock and remembered the hole in his left boot. “Dad, I’m stuck!” Justin shouted.

“Justin, where are you?” Dad called.

“Over here!” Justin’s voice quavered with fear. He could only hear his dad’s voice, but he couldn’t see him anywhere in the shadows.

Suddenly he heard Ellie shout, “I see Jussin!” Justin looked up. To his surprise, he saw his little sister’s eyes peeking at him through the tree tops. Justin’s family was in the next row, and Ellie was still up on Dad’s shoulders, so she was tall enough to see through the tops of the trees.

“Good job, Ellie,” said Mom.

“We’ll be right there, Justin!” Dad shouted out.

Justin’s parents hurried back and helped him get unstuck from the squishy mud. Then they all continued carefully together down the path in search of their perfect Christmas tree.

“How about this one?” asked Mom as she pointed to a large tree.

“That’s too fat for our living room,” Dad commented.

“Hey, here’s a good one!” Justin said. “It’s kinda skinny, so we can walk around it in the living room.”

“Hmm,” Mom said as she looked the tree over. “You know what? I think this is the perfect tree.”

“Hey! Good find, Justin,” said Dad.

Soon Dad was tying their new tree onto the roof of their van while Mom buckled Ellie into her car seat. But instead of getting into the car, Mom went back into the tree barn, leaving Dad with the kids.

“What’s Mom doing?” asked Justin.

“She’s grabbing a little something she saw in the tree store,” Dad explained with a wink.

Justin turned to Ellie. “You like the tree we got, Ellie? It’s tall and skinny. And it has nice, soft branches.”

Ellie looked at Justin. “Is it pink?”

“No, it’s green ‘cause it’s a real tree.”

Ellie looked sad. Justin tried to cheer her up. “Maybe Mom and Dad will get you something pink for Christmas.” Ellie smiled at that thought. She sure hoped she would get something pink.

Once they got home and set up the tree in their living room, Mom opened the boxes of decorations. There were shiny balls and glittery snowflakes. Justin handed a gold ornament to Ellie. “Here, you can hang this one up,” he said.

“Aww,” Ellie sighed. “It’s not pink.”

“Wow! She sure is hoping for something pink this Christmas,” said Justin.

“Yes. She is hopeful,” Mom agreed.

“But just because ya hope for something, does that mean it will happen?” asked Justin.

“No, not always,” Mom replied. “The kind of hoping she’s doing is more like wishing for something.”

“Our Sunday school teacher said we can always hope in God, though,” Justin pointed out.

“She’s right,” said Dad. “That kind of hope is different. It’s more like knowing for sure that God will do what he says. And at Christmastime, we think about the hope God gave to all people when he promised to send Jesus as our Savior.”

“So is the hope all done now? I mean since Jesus was already born?”

“No. Now those who trust in Jesus have the hope of living with him in heaven forever,” said Mom. “We never have to give up hope in God.”

“And speaking of never giving up hope, Mom bought something for you, Ellie,” said Dad as he held his hands behind his back.

Ellie jumped up. “Lemme see, Daddy!”

Dad slowly brought out the beautiful pink star that Ellie had seen earlier that evening on the pink tree. “It’s pink!” Ellie squealed in delight. Dad lifted Ellie up and helped her place the star on the top of the tree where it glittered and shined.

“Well, she got what she was hoping for,” said Mom. “How about you, Justin. What are you hoping for this Christmas?”

Justin thought for a minute, then looked down at his feet. “I know,” he said with a grin, “I hope I get some new boots without any holes.”

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Justin & Jessie show kids how the Bible applies to real life! These weekly stories are part of Answers Bible Curriculum, our full-Bible, chronological Sunday school program for all ages.