O Christmas Tree

Every year I get to decorate our Christmas tree, often with the help of one or more family members. I love that tree, because it tells a story. It has a variety of unique ornaments on it, the majority of which were gifts or handmade by us or friends. The first tree that we purchased years ago was the floor model in a home hardware store that was going out of business. We got our tree for a deal, complete with red bows and tinsel. I remember the gratitude that we felt to the Lord for providing us with that tree. We’ve since replaced it, but the red bows and tinsel still go on our current tree along with many other decorations that we’ve acquired over time. As I reflected on our Christmas tree, I observed that it was a visual history of our family over the years, representing light, love, loss, and life.

Lights are the first decorations to go on our Christmas tree. What is a Christmas tree without lights? Those lights remind me of Jesus, the light of the world, without whom we would still be in darkness and would have no reason to celebrate Christmas. Thank God that he revealed the light of the gospel to my husband and I and to our children. It’s interesting that light was the first thing that God spoke into existence in Genesis 1:3, and he saw that it was good. Light was always a major part of God’s story with mankind.

Many of the ornaments that we decorated the tree with were handmade. They were expressions of love, given to us by dear friends or family. Some were the simple creations of our children, nostalgic reminders of sweet times crafting together. Each handmade ornament is precious, just as our children are, to us and to the Lord. We are God’s beloved, as we are reminded in 2 Thessalonians 2:13.

Other ornaments were placed on the tree with a tinge of sadness. Some were a gift from my hairdresser, who was always so generous to our family, but unfortunately lost her battle with cancer. Another ornament was purchased from the widow of a much-loved artisan. One ornament bears the name of a son who will not be with us this Christmas. Yes, our Christmas tree bears witness to losses in our lives as well. As Ecclesiastes 3:6 says, there’s “a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away.”

Every year our tree is a little different from the previous year. Some ornaments are retired as they are too worn or perhaps even broken. New ones get added each year, though. This is what happens in our lives and our families as well. We are constantly changing; nothing stays the same. We are worn out at times; sometimes we are broken. But fortunately the Lord doesn’t cast us away; instead, he breathes in new life, new experiences, hope for the future. Psalm 147:3 declares that “he heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

Our Christmas tree is beautiful. It brings my heart joy to look at it and let God speak to me through it. It’s also a reminder to me of another tree, the one on which they crucified my Lord and Saviour, Jesus the light of the world. He showed us the ultimate love by willingly giving up his divine privileges and facing untold suffering and loss on our behalf so we could enjoy eternal life with him. He spoke life to our weariness and brokenness. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree; so that, having died to sins, we might live for righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:24

Just like my Christmas tree, the cross of Christ shows forth light, love, loss and life. As you decorate your Christmas tree this year, I encourage you to take a few moments to sit down and reflect on its beauty and the beauty of the One it represents. Merry Christmas!

O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
How richly God has decked thee!
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
How richly God has decked thee!
Thou bidst us true and faithful be,
And trust in God unchangingly.
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
How richly God has decked thee!

2 thoughts on “O Christmas Tree”

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