Holly was talking with the Mother Trees who lived across the lake from her. They, too, had awakened to discover surges of new hope in their hearts and a rush of enthusiasm for preparing for the Festival.
It had been a difficult summer in the forest. Storms had swept through and the families of trees and critters had suffered the loss of several of their kin. They knew, of course, that their loved ones lived on in the Home World. But still, as they looked ahead to the joyous Festival ahead, they felt twinges of sadness that some of their family and friends wouldn’t be here to celebrate with them.
Mother Pine was just saying how the morning’s gifts of hope and anticipation felt like a miracle, when all of a sudden a commotion of some sort raced through the woods behind Holly, rushing toward her. “Holly! Holly! Wait ‘til you hear!” the high-pitched voice of an elf cried.
When he appeared in the small clearing behind her, Holly laughed at the expression on his face. His bright eyes were wide with excitement and he was panting from his dash through the woods. “Hello, Brother Elf!” she said through her laughter. “What’s happened?”
“A messenger came to my brother last night in a dream! He was a holiday elf, dressed in a costume as red as your berries, and he carried a wand topped by a shining star. He popped right out of a mist, and he said, ‘Be prepared! Be prepared! Wishes have been granted. Special guests will come!’ and then he faded right away. What do you think it means, Holly? What wishes? What special guests? Have you heard anything from the birds?’
The little elf was breathless as he told his story, and now he stood at Holly’s feet looking up at her with his sparkling eyes.
“Well, Brother Elf, that’s quite a message! All I know is that the whole forest seems filled with new hope and joy this morning. I haven’t heard anything about wishes or guests, but I think that all of us should do our best to prepare the finest Festival ever.
The pine and oak mothers were just telling me that they can’t wait to begin preparing their Festival gifts. And I predict that if you ask others on your way home you’ll hear that a magical excitement is spreading through the forest. Tell everyone your news. All of us need to get busy. Festival, after all, is less than three weeks away!”
“Thanks, Holly. I’ll tell everybody. Let me know if you get any more news, okay?”
“I’ll make sure to tell you right away, Sweetie,” Holly said.
“Okay! Thanks again, Holly,” the elf said. And with that, he scampered away.