Christmas is love in action.”
–Dale Evans Rogers
“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!'”
Jesus is the reason for the season! He spent approximately thirty years on this earth; this earth which He created. He faced the wrath, the patterns of which He spoke into existence. He walked the terrain of what we now call Israel; the land promised to His friend Abraham. As He moved through the land He saw the evil that He had come to earth to defeat.
The most prominent thing in your house right now, or soon will be, is the Christmas tree. It is probably adorned with ornaments and lights, possibly some garland. What is at the top–a star or an angel? Packages, if not already there, will soon lay below the boughs and there is anticipation every time someone looks at the tree. Yes, anticipation, excitement, and wonder should be there and in the hearts of every individual.
At Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus, but He came to earth to adorn a tree. Not as pretty as the one that will adorn our homes; and we sometimes refer to it as the “Old Rugged Cross.” The tree upon which He hung became marked with color–it became red, stained by His blood. The tree upon which He hung had splinters that dug deep into His back that was already raw from the scourging. Now look at this tree! What is it that you see upon the tree–pain and sorrow or hope and joy? On that Cross hung joy and the garland of the Cross must surely have been peace. Can you see the ornaments of grace, mercy, patience, atoning sacrifice, and redeeming power? And the light, oh so bright for upon that tree hung the Light of the world.
Under the tree, the packages, the bright paper wrapped around gifts bought for loved ones, hiding the contents that are inside. What, besides the actual gift on the Cross were the gifts under it? A robe to be gambled away, a dice game, tears of a mother, fears from His friends were all there at the base of that old Tree. Under ours are gifts yet to be unwrapped. Yet, when we gaze at our tree, we dare not forget the great gift from the heavenly Father.
Yes, we should look at the tree the way Dickens suggests, “in commemoration of the law of love and kindness, mercy and compassion.” To be in Christ is to enjoy each morning as a Christmas morning with the family of God, celebrating the Gift of God around the Tree of Life.
“For he himself endured a cross and thought nothing of its shame because of the joy he knew would follow his suffering; and he is now seated at the right hand of God’s throne.”
–Hebrews 12:2 (Phillips)