91972_000_020Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:7).
Bear found a beautiful tree in the forest behind her house. She cut it down and put it up in her living room. The tree stood straight and tall.
Now, thought Bear, I need some decorations for this Christmas tree. Bear looked in her attic, in every one of her kitchen cupboards, in her cellar, and even in the bathroom, but she couldn’t find anything to use to decorate her tree. What’ll I do? she wondered. Tonight is Christmas Eve.
Bear decided to take a walk in the forest to help her think. On her walk she met Squirrel. “Hello, Squirrel. Tonight is Christmas Eve, and I haven’t any decorations for my Christmas tree.”
“Why, Bear, you could decorate with nuts. I’ll gather some and bring them to your house tonight.”
“What a grand idea,” said Bear. “Thank you!”
“You’re very welcome, Bear,” said Squirrel. He scurried off into the forest to get his prettiest nuts from his hiding places.
Bear smiled and started walking home. On her way she met Bird. “Hello, Bird. I put up a Christmas tree today, and Squirrel is going to help me decorate it with nuts.”
“That sounds wonderful,” said Bird. “I could bring some cranberries for your tree, too, if you like.”
“Great,” said Bear, “and thank you!”
“You’re welcome,” said Bird, and she flew off to get some cranberries.
As Bear continued home, she met Mouse. “Hello, Mouse. I’m happy today. Squirrel is going to share his nuts and Bird is going to bring cranberries so that we can decorate my Christmas tree.”
“That’s wonderful, Bear. I can bring bits of cheese for your tree,” Mouse said, then scampered off to string bits of cheese from his pantry.
Bear skipped home, smiling at the thought of how her tree would be decorated. She spent the rest of the day making lots of apple juice and honey cakes for her friends.
Word spread through the forest, and soon Rabbit, Mole, Toad, and Deer each had something pretty for Bear’s Christmas tree too. All the animals arrived at Bear’s house, carrying their decorations for the tree. Bear was surprised and happy when she saw so many friends. They sang Christmas carols as they decorated the tree.
“Your tree is beautiful!” they all exclaimed when it was finished.
“Our tree is beautiful,” said Bear as the animals sat around a huge table and feasted on the delicious honey cakes and apple juice. “A bit of this, a bit of that from each of you has made this tree beautiful. Thank you all.”
“Merry Christmas, Bear! Merry Christmas, everyone!” they chorused happily to each other.