Sunday, 15 December 2013

The Cherry Tree (An Old English Miracle)

One cold winter's day, hundreds of years ago, Joseph and Mary were journeying towards Jerusalem, eager to reach the city before nightfall.

Mary, weary and faint, stopped for breath and said gently to her husband, "Is that not a cherry tree I see on yonder hillside?"

"It is indeed a cherry tree, dear Mary," replied Joseph, "and if there were fruit on it, you might have some to stay your hunger. But trees do not bear fruit in winter."

"But see!" exclaimed Mary, her eyes aglow at the vision of the tree shiny with fresh green leaves and ripe red cherries.

"A lovely sight, my sweet Mary," replied Joseph. "But we must hurry on or we shall not reach the city gates before nightfall."

Then Mary, meek and mild, beseeched him, "For my sake, my good Joseph, will you not pluck some of the cherries for me? I fear I shall not otherwise be able to travel farther."

"Gladly I would do so, dear Mary," answered Joseph, "but the tree is so tall and the cherries are at the top too high for me to reach."

Mary closed her eyes and whispered a little prayer. "Kind Father," she prayed, "if it be Thy will, may I be given of the cherries?"

And lo! a wonderful thing happened. The cherry tree, rising green and red with leaf and fruit from the snow-blanketed winter earth, bent down its laden branches to Mary. And Mary stretched forth her hands and plucked the luscious cherries which were now within her reach.

A star was shining brighter than the rest in the sky, and though it shone for miles on glistening snow, the little circle of the earth around the cherry tree where Mary and Joseph stood blossomed suddenly with tender grass and little star-eyed flowers, even as the cherry tree itself bloomed in the frozen snow.

Joseph fell on his knees in wonder at the miracle Mary's prayer had wrought. Humbly, he kissed the hem of her gown.

"Forgive me, Mary," he murmured, And as he did so there seemed to be a holy light around her head, and angels could be heard like stars singing together: "On this night, blessed Mary, will be born unto you a Holy Child."

Ad so it came to pass. And of the many miracles attending the birth of Christ, this one has been known ever since as the miracle of the cherry tree.

No comments:

Post a Comment