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It’s usually about this time of year that we head for a local tree farm and pick a Christmas tree for the house. We grab our coats and pile in the car, kids and camera in tow. We walk back and forth through the rows of tall trees looking for that one special shape that will suit our house the best. The saw is applied to the trunk, the tree is felled, and we drag it back to the car. We tie it on top like a trophy and drive back to the house. The stand is brought out and quickly the tree is erected in the corner of the living room. Everyone loves the aroma and feel of the live spruce or pine boughs as we each contribute placing lights and decorations on the limbs.

Christmas tree 2One year, we purchased a tree, set it up, got it all decorated and filled the stand with water. Freshly cut trees sometimes consume large amounts of water for the first few days and then taper off as they become accustomed to their surroundings. I made sure to check it frequently and every time the reservoir was dry. Wow, this was one thirsty tree! So, I continued to add more water, thinking the tree must need it.

Christmas lightsTime went by and we began to wrap our presents and place them under the tree. I remember a day when I picked up one of the gifts from under the tree and the bottom was soaking wet. What?! How did this present get wet!? I checked another and it was wet also. Suddenly I understood ………. That stinking tree wasn’t a thirsty tree, it was a leaky tree! Somewhere the stand had a hole or a crack in it! Sure enough, the carpet all around the tree, in about a 10’ diameter, was completely drenched. Every time I added more water to the tree stand, it just leaked out onto the floor!

Jeremiah 17:8 (NIV)

8 They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.” 

IMG_1766.JPGChristmas trees, as I’m sure most of you know, are evergreens, meaning they stay green all year. The reason we use an evergreen for a Christmas tree is because the leaves never turns brown, symbolizing eternal life. The red decorations often used on the tree represent the blood of Christ that was shed for our sins. The gold decorations depict royalty; the wise men brought gifts of gold to Jesus. White represents purity and peace. The star on top represents the star that the wise men followed to find Jesus. The Christmas lights symbolize that Jesus is the “Light of the World.” The tree itself is also a symbol for the cross that Jesus died upon.

So much symbolism, so much hope hanging on the limbs of a simple tree…..

Every year we celebrate the season by decorating a tree and placing gifts beneath it. Each gift is cleverly chosen and painstakingly wrapped to please the person to whom it will be given. Ornaments with sentimental value from Christmases past are placed on the tree. After the tree is fully decorated, the house lights are dimmed, we plug the tree in, and sip a warm drink while we sit and admire the beauty.

During this advent season, remember what the tree and the gifts symbolize. They are reminders of what God accomplished on the very first Christmas long ago. Our greatest longing, our greatest thirst, our greatest wish should be for the Spirit of the one who came that day, to give us life ………. lush, green, everlasting life.

Raise your mugs with me today – Here’s to the beauty of the Christmas season, the trees, the gifts, and the everlasting life that is ours through Jesus Christ!

All verse quotes courtesy of biblegateway.com