The Christmas tree has been a great debate in faith circles I'm a part of lately.
The research done (on the web) says that the idea of putting greenery, and trees in particular, in the home at this time of year is a "pagan" tradition sought to show signs of life in the middle of winter.
Ancient Roman, Germanic, and Slavic peoples participated in this tradition that was scorned by the early church.
Move forward a few hundred years into the Middle Ages and missionaries were claiming Christ's lordship over all creation, evergreen trees included.
So, here we are...another couple of centuries ahead in time and the debate over the Christmas tree continues strong. Here's my take on the debate...do with it what you will!
Sometimes, as I sit in front of our tree, my mind is brought to another symbol of Christ: the cross. At this time of year we are celebrating God come down; a baby Messiah born. It is fitting to recall why He came--ultimately to hang on a tree. I can't help but think about Christ's birth and his sacrificial death as I look up the tree.
We hang lights on our tree. I am not in to coloured or blinking lights, so ours are just white. When the darkness sets early on our December days (around 3:45 these days) we turn on the tree and light casts back the darkness. What an amazing reminder of this season...Christ came as a babe to do just that! His presence in this world cast out darkness and as His kingdom comes more each moment light grows with it because He is light.
We have been putting Christmas trees in our home since I was a child. Every year my parents would buy us a new ornament...something telling about who we were at that moment in time.
Today, when we don our tree, we hang memories, not just trivial colorful ornaments. I don't try to make my tree look like a magazine...it is a gift of memories, of blessings counted and days gone by. It is an opportunity to give thanks.
We don't worship the tree, but instead allow it to point us to our Christ. As we celebrate advent (this waiting for Christ's birth and his return) we put up a tree--a tree that is symbol of ever-living creation, a symbol of Christ's death, a symbol of light in the world, and a symbol of a lifetime of God's blessing in our lives...
However you choose to celebrate this Christmas season, remember, it is a time for Christ to be the center of all you do--tree or no tree! May the remembrance of His birth into this broken world draw you closer to him!