The Christmas tree tells a story!
I will sing of the steadfast love of the LORD, forever; with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations.
The Family Christmas Tree
One of my earliest memories of Christmas is going with my mom and dad to a Christmas tree farm in Northern California to cut down our family tree.
What I remember is the mud. On our boots and on the floor of the car. I don’t remember the tree, how long we were looking, or the drive there and back.
Growing up, we had a cut tree until about 1976 or so, when we went with an artificial tree that was flocked white.
I didn’t particularly care for that tree and I promised myself that when I grew up and lived on my own, I would have a cut tree at Christmas.
A New Tradition
Fast forward to 1991. It is Nancy and my first Christmas as husband and wife. Either she shared my passion for real trees or I’m pretty good at talking people into things.
We didn’t go to a cut-your-own place, but instead went to Ted Drewes Frozen Custard stand in St. Louis. The day after Thanksgiving, they sold real trees in the parking lot. We got a big, full one for our little three-room apartment.
Fast forward again to 1995. My wife and I are spending our first Christmas as pastor and pastor’s wife at Christ Lutheran Church in White Cloud, Michigan.
I used my assumed powers of persuasion again and we decided to cut down our own tree that Christmas.
We would do that nearly every Christmas since.
While we have a specific kind of tree that is our favorite, that isn’t the most important part of our Christmas tree tradition.
Our Christmas tree has to be an evergreen and it has to point to heaven.
The Christmas carol O Tannenbaum relates the same criteria. It sings of the evergreen needles and the sight of the tree standing faithful and true.
Martin Luther is usually credited with creating a Christmas tree out of a tannenbaum (German for “fir tree”). The legend is he cut one down one Christmas Eve. Then he brought it into the house and put lighted candles on its branches.
Helping Us See Jesus
It was another Lutheran, Pastor Heinrich Christian Schwan of Zion Lutheran Church in Cleveland, Ohio, who was the first to put a Christmas tree in the sanctuary of a church.
The evergreen leaves or needles sing to us of the eternal life that is our because of our salvation in Jesus Christ. The shape of the tree – pointing to heaven – sings to us of the eternal life of love that is ours in heaven, again because of Jesus Christ.
Each year, our Christmas trees can sing to us of the eternal love and faithfulness of God and point us in the direction of heaven.
And each year as our Christmas trees “sing” to us, we can remember that we are going to heaven because of Jesus, whose birth we celebrate!
Heavenly Father, thank you for your creation, especially the fir trees that we use each year at Christmas. May they ever remind us of the everlasting love you have for us. May they ever remind us of the everlasting life we have through our Savior, Jesus Christ. In his name. Amen.
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