Not what you have in mind for a Christmas tree?
You are probably thinking about something more traditional, like a spruce, pine, or fir decorated with lights, ornaments, tinsel, and an angel or star on top. Of course – the best part – gifts under the tree.
The first Christmas tree was erected almost 2,000 years ago, just three days before what we celebrate as Easter today. On the tree was the ultimate gift – Jesus!
Growing Christmas trees is no small feat. One of our career ministry volunteers, Maverick Martin, owns two Christmas tree farms in northern Wisconsin. The first farm plants seeds, which grow over the course of five years to seedlings about three feet tall. They are transplanted to the second farm and grown to full-size trees of five to eight feet tall. After a total of 10-15 years, trees are harvested and distributed. To say Christmas trees are popular is an understatement.
Seventy-seven percent of U.S. households, or more than 99 million, will display a Christmas tree in their home this holiday season, according to the fifth annual Christmas tree survey from the American Christmas Tree Association, conducted by Nielsen. Of those Christmas trees displayed, 81 percent will be artificial and 19 percent will be real.
First Tree Forever
Long before traditional Christmas trees, Jesus was nailed to a tree made in the shape of a cross. When Jesus was born, His Father in heaven had already planned His Son’s death on the cross and resurrection from the grave.
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
The ultimate gift of this and every Christmas is Jesus Christ sacrificed for our sins. The cross on which He died has become the symbol of forgiveness and mercy, grace and life forever.
The Shadow of the Cross
As we journey through life, we encounter various crossroads – decisive moments that cause us to pause. Could these times be the shadow of the cross of Christ being laid across our path? If so, what should we do next? This is what the LORD says:
“Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls . . .” Jeremiah 6:16
Whether a crossroads in your career or some other part of your life, be prayerful, intentional and alert every step of the way. Remember His gift is present for us today. For more information and inspiration, read John Freeze’s personal journey and learning in his book “Straighten the Path.”
Share your story and what Christ at Christmas means to you. Leave a reply below…The first Christmas tree art and design by Merriana Branan