DECORATING A DEAD TREE
When you stop and think about it, The Christmas Tree is such a strange custom isn’t it? We cut down a perfectly healthy tree, drag it into our living room and then proceed to beautify it with lights, ornaments, and tinsel. Ah, there it is, our beautiful Christmas Tree! Yet, as beautiful as that tree it may be, but how short its of glory. How quickly it fades, sheds, and passes off the scene. It is not long before it is headlong in a skip somewhere with a few strands of tinsel hanging on for dear life. It had its day, but its glory is gone.
Yet, as Christians, there is another tree that has our attention. It is not as pretty as the Christmas tree, with no baubles or tinsel or lights. Yet this tree has its own beauty and is at the very centre of the gospel message. This tree is the cross of calvary. The Bible even calls the cross “the tree” (Acts 5:30 and 1 Pet 2:24), where our sins were laid upon him. Ironically, the cross may not have any outward beauty, but becomes more beautiful with each day to the faithful believer. Though there are no lights that decorate it, here we find Christ who is the very “light of world”. Though the cross is something people consider during Easter, for us His birth and death are intimately connected. It is curious to note that Jesus was wrapped in swaddling cloth and laid in the manger in the beginning of his life (Luke 2:12) and they wrapped his body in linen cloth and laid him in the tomb at the end of it (Luke 23:53). He is the saviour by virtue of his death and for this cause was he born.
A TREE WITH NO LIFE
Now of course I love the Christmas traditions and have a big, beautifully decorated tree in our front room (well, until the cat got to it). But, for the purpose of this short blog, the Christmas Tree serves us with a good metaphor for the world system we live in. In fact, the Greek word for “world” is cosmos, which has to do with setting things in order and is where we get the word cosmetics. “The World” is not referring to the beautiful, physical world of nature that we all love, but the system of the world that we all function in as human beings. This system is said to lie in the lap of the evil one (1 John 5:19) and be under his governance (2 Cor 4:4). Essentially, it is a system that promotes a life and purpose without God, living for the temporal pleasures alone. Just like the Christmas tree, the natural world system, and the agenda it promotes has no real life or fruit and the glory is only temporal.
CHOOSE THE TREE OF LIFE
If these 2 trees stood side by side, how easily we might be drawn to the one that shines and sparkles and reject the other. So many may choose to live according to this present world only and reject any higher calling. But standing before these 2 trees, how carefully we must choose. Only one of them can meet the deeper needs we have. Though there may be brightly wrapped gifts underneath one tree, as promised in this godless world system, it is the other that offers the gift of eternal life. As Christians, we have come to the cross. We have come by faith, seeking Him who greatly rewards those who do. We have desired something more than this world can give and found it in Christ, the one who loves us and went to the tree of calvary for us all.