“You shall have a song
As in the night when a holy festival is kept,
And gladness of heart as when one goes with a flute,
To come into the mountain of the Lord,
To the Mighty One of Israel.” Isaiah 30:29
God instructed the Jewish people to have celebrations and festivals throughout the year, each one symbolizing specific things and reminding them of His goodness and love. As Christians we’re not given instructions for celebrations or holidays, we’re to live daily celebrating His goodness and love. But we have added holidays and if we use them to celebrate Him and to proclaim Jesus, I think He enjoys them too.
I love decorating and particularly decorating for Christmas. It takes me days and days to complete, if I ever actually do, because over the years I have collected many decorative items. This year it is especially taking time because we’re in a different house and finding just the right spot for each thing takes a little time. But one thing gets finished first – the Christmas tree. As I decorate, I reflect on the meaning of Christmas and how most of the elements on the tree are symbolic of Christ and the reason for celebration. Some are obvious – there are lights on the tree because Jesus is the Light of the world and we use an evergreen tree because He gives us eternal life. And of course the star that lead the way to the new born King. But there are deeper meanings for me too.
CHRISTMAS TREE – CHRIST’S TREE
The first reminder for me is the tree itself. Jesus died on a tree because Adam sinned and brought spiritual death because he ate fruit from the wrong tree. So Jesus came to die on a tree that we could have eternal life.
“who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)
The tree itself reminds me that through Jesus’ death on the tree, I have eternal life and that by His stripes I was healed.
GIFTS OF GOLD, FRANKINCENSE AND MYRRH
Gold. There are many gold ornaments on our Christmas tree. The gold reminds me of the gifts the wise men brought to the infant Jesus, the new born king. On earth gold is a precious commodity. Here men fight for it, hoard it. But in heaven, gold is not as precious as it is here, there the streets are paved with gold. The most precious gift by heaven’s standards is the gift God gave to mankind, His own precious Son, Jesus. Jesus is the most precious gift, and that gift gives us the gift of eternal life.
HEARLDING ANGELS – GOD’S MESSENGERS
I have never seen an angel, but because I believe God’s Word, I believe they are here all around us. “Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14)
An angel announced to Mary she would be the one to bear the Messiah. An angel appeared to Joseph in a dream that Mary’s child was of God would save their people. Then the night Jesus was born, an angel of the Lord announced to the shepherds that Messiah had come and instructed them where to find Him.
“Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.” (Luke 2:10)
Suddenly then a multitude of heavenly host appeared praising God,
“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:14)
When I see the angel decorations, I am reminded that just as the angels announced Jesus, I am called to be a messenger of God’s love, joy and peace through Jesus Christ our Lord.
RED AND WHITE
I put dozens of shiny red ornaments on our tree. For me, the red ornaments are reminders of the blood of Jesus shed on His tree. It is by His blood that my sins, though many, have been paid for and washed away.
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7)
Isaiah the prophet speaking for God said, “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18)
The white snow on the tree reminds me that even though I once was a sinner, now through the blood of Jesus, I am made pure, I have been given His righteousness.
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
I love Christmas, everything about it – the music, the food, the decorations, the lights, giving and receiving gifts. I enjoy all of it, but the best part is remembering why I have reason to celebrate and rejoicing in God’s greatest gift, Jesus! He is the reason I have so much to celebrate.
Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,