The Christmas Tree
James Lane Allen, in his exquisite but tragic story “The Last Christmas Tree,” pictured the gradual snowing under of the whole earth till nothing was left but a lone fir tree, the emblem of immortality, in whose evergreen top men had set their star of hope and from whose evergreen branches children plucked their gifts. It is one of the saddest of stories, since even this tree followed all living things into their white sleep under the reign of the snowflakes; the shepherds, all in white, lay down with their flocks in white pastures. But the really hopeful and happy moral of the story is the last thing to perish on the earth is that for which the Christmas tree stands throughout Christendom—glory to God and good will among men.
The scientist in his discovery of the structure of the atom and of the potential fuel laid away by the creator in myriad infinitesimal storehouses has postponed indefinitely this tragedy of the eternal cold by prolonging the warmth which keeps the pine tree as “a wild candle poised on a mountain table.” And a few days ago, a descendant of Huxley, speaking of the prolongation of human life, turned to the tree, as did the Psalmist, for the illustration of his hope. He said that a tree, if sheltered from storms, protected from its natural enemies and reasonably nourished, must be the symbolism of the Christmas tree. That is supposed to go on living forever. That is the gospel of Christmas—the rebirth, the renewal of the Christmas spirit in which we have hope of immortality and without which there could be little or no mortal desire for immortality.