The Christmas Tree

When I was a young boy, my sister and I used to have a competition to find out who could see the most Christmas trees all lit up in the homes that we passed, as we travelled along in the family car. The nearer we got to Christmas Day, the more trees we spotted … it was really quite exciting. If we were to do the same today, it would be even more fun for it is not just trees indoors that are decorated, but trees in the garden and whole houses sometimes are festooned with lighted displays.

Then, a few days later, as we entered the New Year, all the decorations had disappeared. Why? What had happened? Was there nothing left that was worth celebrating? It seemed that Christmas was over for another 12 months, the family festivals were finished, the festive fun and feasting were forgotten. The dry, wilting, needleless tree had been thrown out as life returned to normal.

That is what happens when Christmas is emptied of its true meaning. Individual family members disperse to their own homes, maybe back to isolation, loneliness and empty lives. This is not what the Lord God Almighty intends. He desires that we should know, understand, celebrate and enjoy the full reason for Christmas throughout the whole year.

For many Christians, the Christmas tree holds significant symbols:   

The tree itself reminds us that the Lord Jesus, God’s only Son was crucified on a wooden cross, a stake, in the Bible, sometimes called a tree,    “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree” “You killed Him by hanging Him on a tree”

That is the meaning of Christmas, that God’s Son, our Lord Jesus was born as a baby in Bethlehem. He grew to be a man and died as our sinless substitute to set us free from the penalty of sin.

The lights and decorations represent the glory, majesty and wonder of what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross. He truly is: “the Lord of glory, majesty and splendour … the Light of the world”  

The star symbolises the miraculous star that guided the wise men from the East to where the King had been born:  “the star went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the Child was”

The presents attached to the tree and the gifts around the base of the tree all speak to us of God’s greatest gift, our Lord Jesus, Who was not carefully placed under the tree but cruelly nailed to the tree, taking our place, so we might be forgiven:    “the Lord Jesus loved us and gave Himself for us”   

May I share a poem that I wrote many years ago? Entitled The Christmas Tree

The tree stands in the crowded room

Brown fingered, green gloved, welcoming.

Bending boughs loaded with man’s gifts of love.

Gaudy baubles hanging, tinselled trinkets tinkling,

Bright lights glancing, dazzling in colour.

Sharp green needles pricking the air,

Detached fading spears litter the carpet.

The purpose of Christmas?

 

The tree stands on the bare hillside

Dark bodied, black armed, repelling.

Rigid limbs supporting God’s gift of love.

A human body hanging, bruised, bloodied, battered.

The world’s Light lanced, in darkness.

Blunt, rusty nails, piercing agonised flesh,

Life blood from open wounds, spatters the dust.

The purpose of Christmas.

 For many people this year, Christmas will be very different from anything they have previously experienced. Some will be full of anticipation, others will be filled with worry and concerned about just what will happen, it is all so unknown and very uncertain. As you look at the Christmas tree, remember that there are certainties that you can know and focus on ~

God’s love, grace, mercy and forgiveness are available all year round, for those who come to Him in humility and gratitude for His greatest gift, our Lord Jesus.

Be very careful that you do not throw out the Gift of God with the old Christmas tree.

Ron Brickman