Every year I pick a particular element of the Christmas story to focus on. This year I decided to focus on the Christmas tree for the month and found out it has been a highly controversial part of the Christmas celebration over the centuries. HERE is the title of one of my sources that sums up what I found to be true: The Christmas tree: From pagan origins and Christian symbolism to secular status. I had no interest in using this place in cyberspace to talk about pagan origins or secular status, so today I will share three elements of Christmas tree symbolism that I have enjoyed pondering.
The tree is triangular.
The triangle reminds us of God in three Persons, blessed Trinity. Every minute of every day, the three are working in unison. Though scholars pick different terms, my favorite is, God initiates, Jesus mediates, the Spirit executes (makes it happen). On Christmas eve, God sent His Son (initiates). Jesus arrived so that through Him we can have a relationship with God (mediates). The Spirit produced the child in the womb of a virgin (executes). God in Three Persons doesn’t operate like a team of cooks in a kitchen each doing their part of a recipe — one is over there stirring the dry ingredients, one is turning on the oven, the other beating wet ingredients together. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are operating in perfect unison every second of every day. Always together.
The tree is an evergreen.
The Bible talks about how a person walking closely with God lives a life of consistency — always a person of excellent character who responds to circumstances with confidence in God. But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him. He is like a tree planted by the waters that sends out its roots toward the stream. It does not fear when the heat comes, and its leaves are always green. It does not worry in a year of drought, nor does it cease to produce fruit. (Jeremiah 17:7-8)
The tree is cut.
Just like a tree was cut down to form a cross on which our Savior died for us, the act of cutting down a tree has taken on new meaning for me this year. I have gathered each of you around my cut tree this month to talk about ornaments HERE, family stories HERE and the The Tale of Three Trees HERE today.
This week on Christmas eve, my family will be reading The Tale of Three Trees for the 27th year in a row. As my gift to you, I will share some portions about just one of the three trees, the one associated with Christmas.
The first little tree looked up at the stars twinkling like diamonds above him, “I want to hold treasure,” he said. “I want to be covered with gold and filled with precious stones. I will be the most beautiful treasure chest in the world!”
….The first tree rejoiced when the woodcutter brought him to a carpenter’s shop, but the busy carpenter was not thinking about treasure chests. Instead his work-worn hands fashioned the tree into a feed box for animals.
….But one night golden starlight poured over the first tree as a young woman placed her newborn baby in the feed box. “I wish I could make a cradle for him,” her husband whispered.
….The mother squeezed his hand and smiled as the starlight shone on the smooth and sturdy wood. “This manger is beautiful,” she said.
….And suddenly the first tree knew he was holding the greatest treasure in the world.
Merry Christmas from my family to yours.
No matter the year we have had, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is our treasure.
Picture Explanation: From this beautifully illustrated book.
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