In the dark hours before dawn my Christmas tree glows a bright red; adorned with baubles and ribbon, a few sentimental ornaments and candy canes, and Santa on top. Don’t judge me… I just think he’s cute and I love the spirited story of giving. The meaning of Christmas has nothing to do with my tree and everything to do with my heart, which on a regular basis is distracted by life. Surely, I’m not alone? It doesn’t help matters that I’m ADD-OSS at Christmas time. (Attention Deficit Disorder, Oh Something Shiny!) And Heaven knows there is plenty of shiny things to catch my eye. It’s hard enough for me to stay focused on regular days of the year. The closer that Christmas gets I revert to childlike tendencies and begin to wonder what’s going to be under my tree, and at my age I try to remember what I’ve put under the tree. I dream of the wonderful times I’ll have with friends and family and the specialness of having an excited new Pastor in our church this time of year. I have handmade grandbaby goodies all over my house. A Frostie the Snowman milk jug sits beside me that was forgotten by preschooler Nicolis yesterday and my heart overflows… and my mind does too with all the things that need to get done the next few days!
The Christmas Tree has long been a tradition but was by no means started in America. According to history the traditional Christmas tree began in Germany by devout Christians and is also believed that Martin Luther, the 16th-century Protestant reformer, first added lighted candles to a tree. Walking toward his home one winter evening, composing a sermon, he was awed by the brilliance of stars twinkling amidst evergreens. To recapture the scene for his family, he erected a tree in the main room and wired its branches with lighted candles.
But this morning I find a Christmas tree in the scriptures that has nothing to do with the Holidays but everything to do with the Holy Days that are before us.
13 The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious.
As I understand it, Isaiah speaks not only of the Sanctuary in Solomon’s day but the Sanctuary of Christ where He makes a place for His feet and in that place there will be a pine tree! I found that fascinating this morning. Let the naysayers say what they want about Pagan rituals but Jesus likes Christmas trees too. So much so that they’re going to be in His sanctuary. Whether or not His trees will be decorated is yet to be discovered, and in the presence of Jesus I doubt it will be necessary, He’ll shine enough on His own! But this morning that decorated tree took on a new meaning as think about the return of Christ when the sorrows of this world will be gone, Hallelujah! and only the sweetness of life will be known.
Today His feet are in Heaven and I have to wonder if there’s not a tree there too? Nothing is beyond a possibility when God is involved. I hadn’t noticed before that pine trees were even in the bible, but I am ever so thankful that God gave me that scripture today. I hope you’ll find a little extra blessing in an evergreen this Christmas too!