Tall trees, small trees, robust trees, scrawny trees, fir trees of all sizes. Spruce, Scotch pine, Douglas fir – evergreens of every type. Green trees, red ones, aluminum and plastic, all kinds of trees grace our homes this holiday season.
Trees have long been associated with life and protection. The modern tradition of decorating trees during this festive season came from the Germans of the middle ages. A special medieval play about Adam and Eve featured a fir tree hung with apples. German families put similar “paradise trees” in their homes on December 24th which was the feast day of Adam and Eve. On it they hung wafers as symbols of the Christian communion bread. Since Christmas followed the next day, they placed candles to represent Christ as the light of the world. It was Queen Victoria’s husband, the German Prince Albert who made this tree-tradition popular in England. The trees were decorated with candles, paper chains and special cakes hung with special ribbons.
But the trees of Christmas time remind us of another tree. The real tree of this celebration of Christ’s birth is the tree upon which Jesus hung. You see, “when the right time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive full privileges as sons” of God. The little babe who was placed in a simple feeding trough had a mission to die for people’s sins.
We know that Jesus Christ “Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness.” This was not some beautifully adorned tree, but the old rugged tree we call the Cross. He was brutally hung on the cross to pay for your sin and to remove your guilt before a holy God. He was hung so that should you look upon Him and believe He died for your sins, was buried but sprung back to life again, that God would forgive you of your sins. Jesus’s death upon that tree gives you new life to start all over again.
The believer in Christ, the Bible tells us, is like a tree that is planted along streams of living waters – always refreshed and always productive. This believer is also said to be like a branch of the great tree Jesus Christ. His life comes from the Tree of Life and is fruitful. A Christmas kind of fruit which endures from season to season. What kind of fruit? The fruit of joy in this world, peace while on earth, good will to all.
As you hang your ornaments upon your Christmas tree, be reminded of Jesus Christ who was hung upon his tree to give you forgiveness of your sins and everlasting life. Then enjoy Christmas for what it’s really about.
You can download your own Christmas Tree Card with this message. Enjoy!