Echoes From the Campfire

Therefore, as we grow older, let us be more thankful that the circle of our Christmas association and of the lessons that they bring, expands!  Let us welcome every one of them, and summon them to take their places by the Christmas hearth.”
       –Charles Dickens  (“What Christmas Is”)

    “Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child.
              –Luke 2:1, 4-5 (NASB)
It is reported that Martin Luther was the first to bring the “Christmas Tree” into his house during the festive Christmas season.  Some cry “pagan” and want to denounce the tree.  But what is it actually?  A piece of wood, needles that fall to the floor when they dry out, something to hold ornaments, or is it more?
    Jesus spoke often of trees.  He cursed the fig tree, He spoke of the birds building nests in the tree, He mentioned that good fruit comes from a good tree, He even spoke of the branches of the tree.  However, there was one more aspect regarding the tree; the person who was hung on one and died was cursed.

         “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’–.”
                   –Galatians 3:13(NASB)

Jesus was cursed because He became sin, He took the sins of the world upon Himself so that we might know salvation.
    Maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to disregard the tree or to think of it only as something to take up space in the living room at Christmas.  Maybe we should take another glance at it, see the presents under it, feel the warmth it gives the room, wonder in the light it gives off when decorated.  Maybe we should see it in the way Charles Dickens did,

         “Now, the tree is decorated with bright merriment, and song, and dance and cheerfulness.  And they are welcome.  Innocent and welcome be they ever held, beneath the branches of the Christmas Tree, which cast no gloomy shadow!  But, as it sinks into the ground, I hear a whisper going through the leaves.  ‘This, in commemoration of the law of love and kindness, mercy and compassion.  This, in remembrance of Me!'”

Look at that tree one more time, be still, get quiet and think.  Think of the Child who was born to eventually die upon a tree for our redemption.  Wonder of wonders!