As you know, I’m kind of a Scrooge when it comes to Christmas. But I am trying to change. Except that I can’t feel ready to decorate until I have the tree. Without a tree, Christmas decor just seems pointless to me.
As a girl, my family would go out and cut down the Christmas tree from the tree farm, bring it home, and turn it so the awkward hole on one side was mostly out of sight. Then my siblings and I would put Tijuana Brass on the record player and ornament the tree to the soundtrack of Herb Albert. That’s when Christmas really began.
For me, Christmas decorations are secondary to the Christmas tree.
And boom! Just like that we have a spiritual application.
Just as seasonal decor finds its epicenter to the tree, our salvation finds its epicenter at the cross, a tree used for a shameful, agonizing death.
Without the tree, Jesus had no reason to come to earth. Without the tree, the New Testament is void, the Old Testament useless. Without the tree, death ravages the earth. Without the tree, all our goodness is a facade, a covering over our selfish hearts.
But with the tree, Jesus’s incarnation creates a bridge between a holy God and His sinful, fallen image. With the tree, Jesus fulfills the Old Testament and creates the New. With the tree, we see our sin debt paid and death conquered. With the tree, the fruit of Spirit grows in our lives out of a new heart.
As I decorate my life with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, goodness, meekness, and self-control, I have to remind myself that I can only do so by daily taking my cross and denying myself.
The cross is not a green, verdant, fir-scented tree. It’s stained red with blood, created for an ignominious shameful death, and stinks with my sin. It is, however, the most beautiful tree in the world.