Monday, December 9, 2013

O Christmas Tree!

I turned Christmas music on as Brielle and I spent the afternoon decorating. We had so much fun! Every ornament was a "baaaaaaaa" (ball)...
 ... and after untangling the lights she'd put them on as a "pre pre pre" (pretty) necklace.
It was an adorable afternoon! I throughly enjoyed my time with her and listening to the music. One song that caught my attention was "O Christmas Tree" -- I've heard it a thousand times, but I've never actually thought about the lyrics until now.

"O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree
Thy leaves are so unchanging
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree
Thy leaves are so unchanging

Not only green when summers here
But also when its cold and drear
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree
Thy leaves are so unchanging"

I immediately thought of the olive tree and David's reference to it in Psalm 52:8, "But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever." When I first read that Psalm I wondered why David compared himself to an olive tree. What makes it special? When I looked into it, this is what I found out: it grows slowly and lives long. The leaves are gray-green, and it's not deciduous, suggestive of tenacious strength. In other words, this tree is unchangeable and immoveable. His trust in the steadfast love of God is like an olive tree: unchanging and immoveable. Just like a Christmas tree! 

Throughout history, however, human's have taken God's creation and worshiped it, we can't ignore the fact that we live in a pagan world. I can get into an entirely different conversation about idolatry, but if you're curious read the history of the Christmas tree. My sisters and I got into an interesting conversation about this very topic, debating on whether or not to have a Christmas tree as part of our holiday celebrations. We all ended up agreeing that the Christmas tree will not disappear and we're not convinced it needs too (unless of course your Christmas tree has become your focus, aka your idol). So when I heard this song I began to formulate a reason similar to the one I found about Halloween.

Halloween, for example, is a holiday that also has a pagan history. It will not disappear either. Are we being a witness by shutting ourselves up in the basement, lights off, refusing to converse or participate? Let's glorify God in everything, thank him for blessing us with celebrations involving costumes and candy, and turn it around to point back at Him and what Christ did on the cross. 
Halloween Redeemed!
Let's redeem the Christmas tree! When I heard "O Christmas Tree" I honestly asked myself, "What was GOD'S purpose for creating the evergreen tree?" An unchanging, immoveable, beautiful tree and what can it symbolize for a Christian's celebration of Christmas? A holiday we've embraced as the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. So how do we redeem the Christmas tree? Let me give it a try...

How is being a Christian like being a Christmas tree?
God picks you from the woods, brings you in, cleans off the cobwebs and shakes off the dirt.
He cuts off your former roots, forcing you to trust entirely in Him, and gives you the water of life to drink.
Little by little He prepares you as His bride, beautifully adorned, unchanging and immoveable.
Then he gives you His light to shine for all the world to see.
I didn't write this to argue dates or even argue whether or not you should celebrate Christmas as the exact birthdate of Jesus Christ. I'm saying it's time we glorify God in everything, especially in the joy of His creation, including, but not limited to evergreen trees. Instead of shutting ourselves up in the basement and refusing to participate and being so legalistic we drive others away; OR ignoring the true reason for peace and joy by overwhelming ourselves with presents and business; we miss the real reason for the season. Spread that message of hope and joy to all people and let's put CHRIST and His message of hope as our centerpiece at Christmas!

And be like the Christmas Tree!

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