By Rev Frank McKeown
By the time you read this you will probably have your Christmas tree sitting somewhere prominent in your home.
The first Christmas tree was spotted in Rathcoole during the first few days of November – that might be a record. But you will not find any mention of the Christmas tree in Scripture – it has simply become a tradition.
Although not mentioned in the Bible, I want to suggest to you that we read of the Christmas tree in Acts 13 vs 29 – 30, which says: “When they had carried out all that was written about Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb. But God raised Him from the dead.”
The scriptural Christmas tree is not a beautiful green conifer, all covered with coloured lights, tinsel and other decorations. Instead, the tree in the Bible which is associated with Christ is quite a different one.
At least five times the Bible says that our Lord died on a “tree.” This tree was a crude cross and its only decoration was the blood stains of the Son of God. It was not covered with lights, but stood on a skull shaped hill in the eerie darkness of an untimely night. The only tree which has a Scriptural basis for our remembrance of Christ is the tree on which He bore our sins in His own body. It’s the old rugged cross.
Paul is careful to tell us that they took Him down from the tree. At Christmas time so few even get Jesus out of the manger. To them He is always an infant – never growing up year after year, Christmas after Christmas. To some others, Jesus is the perpetual sacrifice, never finishing His work, but constantly hanging on a cross. The true Believer knows, however, that the Heavenly messengers exclaimed: “He is not here, but is risen.”
At which tree will you worship this Christmas? The centre of our adoration should be the One who finished the work of our redemption and left an empty tree – the Cross of Calvary. Do you know where the “Babe in the manger” is now? He is in Glory and His second coming is very near.
May this Christmas be special for you and your family. May you enjoy the trappings that go along with this holiday – but I hope and pray that you will not forget the real reason for the holiday – the birth of the Saviour.
Come together with others to worship the Lord during this Christmas and New Year period.