This is a children's Christmas story -- for SMART kids. But also for parents who are smart enough to understand and appreciate what it means to have a SMART kid. In sum, for both SMART kids and SMART parents -- if both are willing to do a little work.
YES, there's some symbolism. And YES, this story may require a patient and insightful parent to explain it. But I'd like to think the combination of a smart parent and a smart kid will get it.
Think of this story as an opportunity. Whatever your religion (or lack of), this is a story that will challenge your child. And, in the process, will challenge you.
How so? Quite simply, to uncover some of your own misgivings, equivocations and tergiversations -- and to explain to your child what "life everlasting" is all about.
This is not a Christian story. Nor is it a Muslim or a Jewish story. This is a simple NYC story -- about a small pine tree that accompanies a BIG pine tree to the BIG city. And which finds life and its meaning in that same big city.
We should ALL be so lucky. We should ALL find the meaning of life in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Unfortunately, we're not pine trees -- either BIG or small.