I love decorating Christmas trees. We’ve had an artsy tree from our first Christmas together. You know the kind where the ribbons and the ornaments all coordinate. Over the years I’ve loosened up a bit and more sentimental ornaments have been added. My favorites are the ones made from Christmas cards — intricately cut out with a ribbon attached.
I don’t really have the energy to do the decorating anymore. The last couple of years I’ve spent time drawing them for cards. That’s fun. But, as much fun as I have drawing, the cards just don’t light up the same.
This year my son decided to decorate. He did an amazing job! I didn’t even know he could. And then, to see an artsiness coming from him . . . Well, it warmed my heart.
SO yeah, I’ve been thinking about Christmas trees and what significance they have, aside from the joy of color, lights, and expressing one’s artistic side.
We have an artificial, pre-lit tree. Some people think that’s an abomination to the whole Christmas spirit. “If it doesn’t smell like pine,” many exclaim, “it’s not Christmas!” (My son added a car freshener to remedy that effect.)
I prefer a real tree, but not a dead one. You know, the one’s we pick up at the tree lot. The ones that become more and more prickly as they decay, and the needles poke your feet if you don’t sweep daily. BUT, they do smell good, right?
I like a real one that’s still alive. Any kind will do, as long as it’s roots are intact. AND it can be added to the yard after the holidays. (Although, if you do this every year, your suburban lot could become a forest!)
But really, in all honesty, what do these trees have to do with the true meaning of Christmas? Is there any reason for a tree at Christmastime aside from the fun of it? What does it have to do with the birth of Christ? What parallels can we draw?
Okay. Maybe the lights have something to do with Jesus being the Light of the World. That’s a possibility. But, it’s not original to the first Christmas. It’s not biblical, just cultural — our attempt at finding meaning or hoping to merge our culture with our belief. But, I’ve been contemplating the why of it all and the Christ-child we adore.
May I put forth a few points for your consideration…?
We are described in scripture as plantings of the Lord. Oaks of righteousness. Branches from The Vine. Trees planted by The River where our roots grow deep and our leaves never fade. If we could imagine ourselves as Christmas trees, what kind of tree would you be?
An artificial tree…all lit up with beautiful lights…attractive, even artsy…but not a lick of real life in you…? You’re pretty to observe, but…fake…through and through…?
Or…a dead tree…you may still smell good, but each day you’re fading a bit more…you’re becoming more prickly, more of a mess, since you’ve been chopped down at the base…? You don’t really know why you’re dead, but you do know real life is not coursing through your veins.
Or, possibly, a real tree. Could you be a real tree, with life in your limbs, with your rootball intact? Yes, you might be! Have you come to the child who was born in Bethlehem? He wasn’t born under a tree, but in a stable. And you know, he didn’t decorate a tree. Nope. Not one. Never did He celebrate Christmas as we do.
What do trees and Christ have in common?
Cursed is everyone who hangs upon a tree.
Have you come to the True Christmas Tree of Christ?
Have you come to The Cross?
Have you knelt before His Tree to lay all your burdens down?
He came to save you. He came to take your curse upon Himself. He came to give you real life. He came to graft you into the True Vine. He came to make you a planting of His. He came, as a baby, to experience life as a human, so that He could be our Perfect High Priest who understands all our needs. HE came to take the curse of sin upon Himself so that you can become…
And rooted in Him.
He is the Tree of Life.
What about THAT tree?