Tom and Lilly are told by their uncle of a very special object hidden the woods
It was April 15th in Carson City Nevada. Tom and Lilly were looking forward to Easter. It was their special day. They favored it even over Christmas. They loved the spring season that came with it too. It was the month that the trees and flowers revived and bloomed. The air was rich with the scent of Blanket and Atlasflowers. And on that fine day at 3pm, they were on the school bus home in a discussion.
“So what do you like best about Easter?” asked Tom to his sister.
“I like going exploring in the woods for Easter eggs,” answered Lilly.
“I like the ones with crème inside.”
Lilly widened her eyes. “Oh, I love it when the Easter Bunny comes to shows and in parks. He’s so soft and warm to hug.”
A bulky kid in jeans and a tank top directed his attention to the siblings’ conversation. “You both are stupid. There’s no such thing as an Easter Bunny. My mom said weird people made it up a long time ago.”
“He is real!” Lilly blurted.
“No he’s not. The Easter Bunny isn’t even the real reason for Easter. It’s about Jesus,” the kid said.
Tom rolled his eyes. “We know that. But it is about the Easter bunny too.”
The kid next to the two sneered. “You have to pick one. You can’t have both.”
“Whatever,” said Tom. “Let’s go Lilly.”
Both got off the bus and walked through their front door and were met by their mother. “Hey kiddies, how was school?”
“Great.” said Tom.
“But there was this mean boy on the bus that said there is no Easter Bunny,” said Lilly.
“But of course there is.”
“Mom, can you have the Easter Bunny and Jesus at the same time?” asked Tom.
Tom and Lilly’s mother Clare froze. “Well, umm…Really I…”
“Yes mommy?” said Tom.
“You know what, how would you two like to go to your uncle’s house and sleep over?”
Clare’s children’s eyes lit up. “Alright, cool!” they both exclaimed.
“Okay I’ll be right back.” Clare went to a small, wooden coffee table and grabbed her keys then her cell phone and dialed. “Hey Rick, would you mind if the kids stayed with you for the night?” There was a brief silence. “Great! Thanks.”
Kate turned to her children. “Okay, little ones, in the car.”
Tom and Lilly shuffled into her car then Clare backed out of the garage and took a right hand turn and drove.
“I’m sure you are excited. You have not been to your uncle Rick’s in a while. It is sad he does not live here. But I know how you two love to go exploring in the woods.”
Lilly bounced in her seat. “I know, I can’t wait!”
“Well, it will take two hours to get there so how about some cartoons?”
“Okay,” said Tom with a smile.
Clare touched a button and a small screen facing the back seat folded down.
“Cool, SpongeBob,” said Lilly.
The children watched cartoons for a good duration of the drive. Then all three watched the landscape become rural and dessert-like as Joshua trees, cacti, and small dry shrubs filled the ground. The road slowly started to incline. They went along a winding road that skirted a rocky mountain face on the right with a drop off at the left.
At last areas of Pine trees began to thicken. Clare rolled down the windows to take in the fresh Pine smell. Twenty minutes later, all three arrived at Uncle Rick’s cabin. The kids unbuckled their seat belts and rushed to the wooden door with a small glass window. They knocked and a few moments later, Rick came out. “Hey kiddoes how are you?”
“Great Uncle Rick. How are you?” Tom returned.
Rick smiled warmly. “I’m just fine. Come on in guys.”
The two flashed past Rick into the cozy, wooden cabin.
“Rick there is something I need to ask you,” said Clare. “When the kids got home from school they asked if the Easter Bunny was real. Then they asked about Jesus. I’m not a person of faith, but it bothered me. I know your dad raised you Christian. So what I’m asking…” Clare looked down. “…is if you could-explain things to them-about Jesus and the Easter bunny.
“You know how I am. I’ll be as helpful as can.”
Clare avoided Rick’s eyes. “Thanks Rick. I’ll be back tomorrow.” She walked to her car and drove off.
Rick closed the door and went to the children who had ran outside to the balcony overlooking the whole beautiful display of trees, rising and falling with inclines and declines.
“Wow, it’s so neat uncle!” exclaimed Tom.
“It is very beautiful indeed. How have you two been?” asked Rick. “It’s been forever.”
“We’re good. I got an A on my math test last week.”
“That’s great! What about you Lilly?”
Lilly looked up at her uncle and smiled. “My team won in soccer yesterday.”
“Good to hear. How are your grades?”
“I got three A’s and two B’s on my last report card,” Lilly answered again.
“Neat!” Rick was silent for a moment. “Kids, there is something I need to talk to you about.”
“What is it Uncle Rick?” asked Tom.
“It’s why we celebrate Easter.”
“We know, it’s about the Easter Bunny-and Jesus.”
“You’re half right. It’s all about Jesus and how God made Him alive after he was dead.”
“I remember how the preacher talks about that when we go to church on Sunday on Easter,” said Tom.
“Do you remember what he said?”
Tom contorted his face. “Not really.”
Rick folded his hands and took deep breath. “Easter is all about Jesus dying on the cross for us being disobedient and God raising him to life.”
“That sounds cool! Could I be raised to life like Jesus?” asked Lilly.
“That is true. But that is for another day. What is important is that it is all about that-what happened to Jesus.”
“What about the Easter Bunny?” asked Lilly with dark, doughy eyes.
Rick frowned and paused in thought. “It’s okay to go hunting for eggs, and getting chocolate bunnies. Soon you two will get older and you’ll grow out of believing in the Easter Bunny. ”
“I’ll never stop believing in the Easter Bunny,” said Lilly adamantly.
“Me neither,” Tom agreed.
Rick patted them both on the head. “If you were raised as my children, I would have told you differently. But that is how your mom taught you.”
Rick clapped his hands together. “Do you kids feel hungry? If you are, I could put a pizza in the oven.”
“Pizza! Yum!” said Tom.
Rick led them back inside and went to the kitchen. He pulled out a frozen pizza and stuck it in the oven.
“Sit down on the couch. I want to tell you a story.”
“What’s it about?” asked Lilly.
“It’s about a legend about theses woods.” Rick leaned forward. “When I was being raised in a house in Carson by my father, he told me about something special that exists in these woods where the family cabin is. The legend was passed down for four generations.”
“So what’s it about?”
“It’s about a magical stone that can grant one Easter wish. But it can only be done three days before Easter.”
“How is this not like believing in the Easter Bunny?” asked Lilly.
“Good question. I know because I used it long ago when I was your age. But my father said only young children may use it.”
“What did you wish for?” asked Tom.
“I wished that everyone in my class, including my teacher, would come to church with me on Easter.”
“Did it work?” asked Lilly.
“Indeed it did. When I was eight, on Friday before Easter on Sunday, my father and I were visiting the cabin. Then before bedtime my dad told me about the stone and what it looks like. That very night I went searching for it with a flashlight in the woods. I found it and it looked like a blue diamond. I made my wish and on that night on Sunday everyone came.”
“Wow! Wait until mom hears this!”
“It would be best if you didn’t. Most grownups do not believe in these things. Your mom would think I’ve gone nuts.”
Rick looked at the clock. “Well it is getting late. You should both go to bed.”
Lilly and Tom went upstairs to their beds in a single large room.
“Sleep tight,” said Rick as he turned off the lights and shut the door.
Fifteen minutes later Tom got up and turned on the lights. “Lilly,” Tom said in a soft voice.
“Let’s look for it.”
“The magic stone, what else?” Tom put forth.
“We’ll get in trouble. And what if we get lost?”
Tom shook his head. “I’ll make sure I remember where we’re going. Remember when we were in the store and we left mom to go to look for the video games? I knew exactly where she was and it was a big store. And the other time when mom forgot where she parked her car and I also knew where it was?”
“Okay, alright. But only for a little while.”
The siblings turned off the lights and opened the door. “We need a flashlight,” whispered Tom.
“But where will we find any?” replied Lilly.
“Let’s look in the kitchen.”
They crept downstairs and went to the kitchen then quietly opened each drawer until they found one. Next the two bundled up for the brisk, cold outside air. Tom wore a watch and it was 11:37pm.
In the light of the flashlight, they entered into the surrounding woods. Owls were hooting and the tree branches were swaying in the wind. A full moon was out and the children stared with awe as they went on. Moths fluttered about in the shine of their flashlight. Time proceeded until they saw a blue light further in the woods.
“What’s that light?” asked Lilly.
“Let’s go after it!” Tom dashed forward without a second thought.
“Hey, wait up!”
They ran after the light but the closer they came to it the further it went away from them. The two chased it, going further into the forest. Suddenly it stopped.
“It’s not running away anymore,” said Lilly.
The children neared it and soon they saw that the light was coming from a gleaming person with wings. They belonged to a woman with long, silvery hair and peaceful blue eyes. Imbedded at the trunk of an oak tree was a blue gem.”
Tom and Lilly were staring with gaping mouths.
“Hello children. I know you are looking for the Easter Stone. I have guided you to where it is.”
“Are you an angel?” asked Tom.
“Indeed I am. My name is Lufia. And you are Tom and Lilly.”
“How do you know us?”
“I am the guardian angel for you two. I know you quiet well. Come here,” Lufia uttered motioning toward the oak. “Touch it and make your Easter wish.”
The siblings approached the tree and put their little palms on the stone in the trunk.
“What should we wish for?” asked Tom.
“Let’s wish to see the Easter Bunny!”
“Ah, but you must make your wish about the real meaning of Easter,” Lufia interjected.
“Oh, okay,” said Lilly.
Both looked down in thought. Suddenly Tom’s head popped up. “I know, let’s wish to see the very first Easter!”
“That is a very good wish Tom. Now close your eyes.”
Tom and Lilly closed their eyes and felt a whirlwind spin around them for five seconds.
“You may open your eyes,” said the angel.
The children saw they were now in front of a large stone against a small rock face. They were in a different place with dessert-like surroundings.
“I thought we were going to see Easter.”
“You will. The first Easter will soon take place,” Lufia said. “There is something you must know. No one can see, hear or feel you. With my power I have made it such. Otherwise you may change things.” Lufia put a finger on the forehead of Tom and then Lilly. “Now you can understand what the people here speak.”
Suddenly there was an earthquake as a shining being came from the sky. The children were scared but were assured by Lufia that all was well.
Then the angel from the sky pushed the stone away revealing a large hollowed out, cave-like mouth. Then he disappeared. Tom and Lilly were overcome by curiosity and ran into the opening. There on a ledge was a long, flat cloth with a folded handkerchief at one end.
“Where are we?” asked Tom.
“It is a tomb. Come. There is more to see.”
The children came out and stood next to Lufia. Then a woman in a robe with a hood covering her hair came to the tomb. Suddenly she froze then ran off.
“Go after her. I’ll catch cup,” said Lufia.
The siblings ran with bright faces after the woman. She came to two men. The children heard her talking.
“She’s telling them about the empty tomb,” said Tom.
Then the woman and the two men raced back to the tomb with Tom and Lilly following. One of the men went inside it. Soon after, the men left with only the woman crying outside the tomb.
The children then noticed two men in white gowns on both sides of the flat cloth. One of them in white asked the woman why she was crying.
“She is asking where the Lord is. That must be Jesus!”
Next, a man approached her and asked why she was crying.
“She just called the man Rabbonni. What is that?” asked Lilly.
Lufia came from behind the two observers. “It means teacher. Do you know who that man you see her talking to her is?”
“Is He-Jesus?” asked Lilly.
“You’re right. Now you will be brought forward several hours later to night time to see an important thing.” This time Lufia put both of her palms over their eyes for a few moments then pulled away.
They were now with a group of nearly twelve men. A few moments later Jesus was noticed by the two children.
“Jesus is talking about his Father,” said Lilly.
“Indeed. Now watch,” instructed Lufia.
Jesus breathed on them and the children felt a wonderful presence.
“I feel weird-weird but good,” said Lilly.
Lufia smiled. “That is the gift of the Spirit. Now you will go eight days into the future.” Once again with the covering of their eyes, Tom and Lilly appeared with the group of men again. One of them was putting his hands into a wound in Jesus’ side and then was sticking his fingers into two holes in Jesus’ hands.
One final time Tom and Lilly were wisped away to another place and day. They found themselves in a large group of people watching Jesus ascend into the sky. Higher and higher He went until a cloud covered him.
“Goodbye Jesus,” said Lilly with her head tilted up.
“You have been given your Easter wish. Did you like what you saw?”
“From now on Easter will be different for me,” declared Tom.
“Me too,” agreed Lilly.
Tom looked down and kicked the dust. “I wish mom could have been here.”
“Just remind her what the real meaning of Easter is,” said Lufia. ..every single year.”
“Okay.” they both said.
“It’s time to go back. Close your eyes.”
Both closed their eyes and they felt the wind circle around them, ruffling their hair and moving across their faces. Then they saw they were in the forest.
“Time to go home children,” said Lufia.
“Can we do this again next year?”
Lufia smiled and shook her head. “This is the only time. If you ever seek the Easter Stone again, you will not find it.”
The children looked down and sighed.
“I know you know the way back Tom.”
“Yes, I do.”
“Then may the Lord bless you children and remember I am looking after you.” With those words from Lufia, a bright shine lit up the forest. It dimed to nothing and Lufia was gone.
“Let’s go.” ordered Tom.
Tom led them back through the forest and to the cabin. They inched the door open silently with their flashlight guiding the way. Suddenly the hall light came on and Rick was leaning against the wall with his arms crossed. “So did you find it?”
A look of surprise came over the siblings’ faces. “You’re not mad?” asked Tom.
“Well you did do something dangerous. You might have gotten lost. So did you find the stone?”
“Yeah we did. There was this angel and we wished to see the first Easter and…”
“An angel? That never happened to me. You guys must be special.” Rick paused. “Well, it is late. I can’t wait to hear what happened. But we will talk about it tomorrow.”
The children were so excited to tell their tale. And in the morning Rick was amazed at their experience. The entire ordeal would remain a secret for the three until the next generation would be told of it and the legend would live on.