Archive for December 2015

Not Just Any Tree will Do

December 14, 2015

Not Just Any Tree Will Do – by Dr. Steven J. Callis

Selecting the right tree for Christmas is as important as selecting the right turkey for Thanksgiving, and I am ‘thankful’ that we do not settle for artificial turkeys that reappear annually! That reminds me, I guess it is time to take our tree down from the attic and get it decorated.

My dad loved Christmas – and trees. As a child we rarely had a “live” tree. I remember one year in particular when my dad decided to think outside the box, so to speak. That year he sprayed fake snow over the entire tree, completely covering it, and then added various sized hot pink ornament balls. The finishing touch was our old color wheel. It was different, indeed!

For our very first Christmas my wife and I drove out to Uncle Campbell and Aunt Maxie’s place to look for a tree on their property. We lived in a small apartment and finding the right tree was a challenge. The one we chose was beautiful – in front. The back of the tree was no longer among the living. However, strategically placed in a corner of our living room, one would hardly notice the flaw.

While there are stories that the Christmas tree has pagan roots (pardon the pun), the tradition of decorating trees at Christmas has always been a distinctly Christian tradition. The modern Christmas tree evolved from two Christian traditions in Germany in the sixteenth century. One was a “paradise tree” which was adorned with apples as a reminder of the tree of life in the Garden of Eden. The other was a triangular shelf holding nativity figurines and decorated with a star representing the star of Bethlehem. Eventually, these two symbols merged into the present Christmas tree tradition.

Of course, Thanksgiving is not all about the turkey, and Christmas is not all about the tree. We know that JESUS is the reason for the season. My family begins Christmas morning sitting in front of the tree, beautifully wrapped presents beneath it, and we read the Bible Christmas story and pray for our family, friends, church, community, and world.

In a way, our Christmas tree serves as a kind of altar where we lay our gifts before the Christchild and marvel in His Presence. The tree stands as a reminder of the One who is Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace.