The Christmas Tree
“…on each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations”. Revelation 22:2 NIV
Most of us already have our Christmas trees up and decorated. Each year is filled with memories as favorite ornaments are brought out and new ones are added, creating future traditions. Is there a more popular image associated with the Christmas season? I realize many Christians choose not to have a tree because of its identification with Paganism. I do respect those convictions if they are yours. However, I am personally thrilled with the imagery and symbolism of the Christmas tree. I could care less about its pagan ties, those are nothing more than the enemy stealing something that is the Lord’s and corrupting it in the eyes of men.
There is so much Godly symbolism that is affixed to the tree. The Bible begins and ends with a focus on the tree. In the garden described in Genesis, we find the tree of life in the center. It represents the Creator’s promises to us for life eternal. Moving to the book of Revelation, chapter 22 finds a description of New Jerusalem. Along both sides of the river that runs through the city, from the throne of God and the lamb, is the tree of life, evidence of the Lord’s grace.
As a symbol, the tree is truly evidence of life through God, a testimony of God’s love. It is a declaration of His promises to us. It is an emblem of our overcoming victory through Him, from the first promises of the Word through the last! The most powerful image, however, is the cross of Jesus, referred to as “the tree”. Why? It has little to do with the cross being made of wood, but everything to do with the tree as life, as in the Garden. It was the implement used to crucify Christ for our sins, so He could arise and bring liberty to all men who call upon His name.
Every evening during the holidays, as you turn on the tree lights and see the ornamented beauty of the Christmas tree (illuminated in those soft lights) do not remember the pagan uses of the tree in the past. But rather bask in the Word of truth from Ephesians 5:8, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.” You are light to the world because of the tree, the tree of life with the Lord’s promises and which raised our Lord in death, leading to resurrection.
J Todd Hostetler