With Christmas coming in a couple weeks, the “Christmas trees” and lights that adorn many of our homes serve as a reminder as to why we celebrate Christ’s birth; and ultimately His life, death, burial, and resurrection. Throughout the centuries, man has used the trees that God provided in creation for shade, burial sites, food, building, fuel, and yes, even idolatry. However, trees were not used as a symbol for Christmas until around 700 AD. Tradition holds that St. Boniface of Germany, who was instrumental in converting the German people to Christianity, was said to have come across a group of pagans who had gathered around an oak tree and were preparing to sacrifice a child. To stop the sacrifice and save the child, St. Boniface is said to have cut down the oak tree and to his amazement a young fir tree sprung up from the roots of the oak tree. St. Boniface took this as a sign of the Christian faith.
Through the centuries, there has been much controversy and opposition pertaining to the Christmas tree. The early Christian Church in the third century strictly prohibited the decoration of their house with evergreen boughs. It wasn’t until the 1800’s that “Christmas trees” began to appear in the homes of Americans. Modern-day opposition continues: some condemn the Christmas tree because they believe it is a Christian symbol; others condemn it because they believe that the custom of cutting down a tree, erecting it in the home and decorating it is a pagan custom. Some Christians, through the ages, have felt that the use of Christmas trees was a pagan practice – pointing to a passage written by the prophet Jeremiah.
“Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.”
Let’s consider for a moment “God’s Christmas Tree”. God took a tree from His own creation and placed it up on a hill called Mt. Calvary. That old rugged cross is God’s tree! But He only placed [one] “Light” upon it – His only Son, the Light of the world.
“In him was life; and the life was the light of men. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.”
His tree was decorated with “Bread and Water”.
“And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”
“But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
He also placed a “Rock” on His tree – Jesus Christ the Rock of our salvation.
“O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.”
He then finished decorating His tree with “Blood” – the shed blood of His Son in payment for our sin debt.
1 Peter 1:18-19,
“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”
God’s greatest gift of His love to all of mankind is His “gift of forgiveness”.
“In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.”
This gift is a gift of love and hope – for Christ is the everlasting Hope of the world.
The question to you today is, “Have you looked in faith to the [One] whom God placed on His tree for the salvation of all of mankind?” God’s eternal gift of salvation [eternal life] can only be received though faith in Jesus Christ. If you have not received God’s gift, why not do so today? If you have received God’s gift – let us ever be thankful during this “Christmas Season” – especially as we press towards Christmas day.