By Andy Wrasman
There are many simple ways to see Christ in Christmas by drawing Biblical parallels with traditional tree Christmas décor. As long as Christians are not glorifying pagan beliefs, or bowing at the altar of gluttonous consumerism through our American Christmas tree traditions, then there is freedom in Christ to take this hallmark of the secular world at the time we celebrate the birth of our Lord, and point it all back to Jesus. With no “Bah Humbug” towards the secular spirit of Christmas, here’s a list to see Christ in the tree this Christmas.
The Christmas tree is an evergreen tree, because it doesn’t lose its needles through the winter. This type of tree can point to the eternal life that Jesus Christ offers to the world. Jesus is the one who was, and is, and is to come! (Revelation 4:8).
The traditional tree toppers – a bow, an angel, or a star – all point to the Christmas tree representing Jesus. Bows adorn gifts, and the coming of Christ into the world is a reminder that the Father gave Jesus as a gift out of his great love for us. (John 3:16) At Jesus’ birth, Luke records a great multitude of angels proclaiming the Good News of his arrival to shepherds who watched over their flock at night (Luke 2:8-18). Matthew tells of wise men travelling from the east, following a star to the birthplace of the awaited Messiah (Micah 5:2, Matthew 2:1-12).
The wise men from the east, who followed the star of Christ, brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, valuable gifts that were common to give to a king. If the Christmas tree is seen to represent Christ, the gifts at the foot of the tree draw us back to the gifts the wise men laid before baby Jesus as they worshipped him (Matthew 2:11). Our gift giving at Christmas should serve to remind us that as we give to others in need, we are giving to Jesus. And if the gifts at the tree are seen to have come from Santa Claus, an all-knowing, all-loving, apparently all-powerful, and never dying father-figure who cares for children, it should point us to the true gift-giver, God our heavenly Father (James 1:17).
The lights on the tree are a final touch that point back to Christians and the Church. John begins his Gospel biography of Christ by saying that in Jesus “was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4, ESV). The light of Jesus shines in the darkness of this sin cursed world (John 1:5). Later in his Gospel, John directly quotes Jesus as having said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). As Christians know the Lord through Jesus, and possess eternal life and the light of Christ, we become what Jesus calls us in his Sermon on the Mount, “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14).
When we look at the Christmas tree, we are reminded that Jesus became flesh and dwelt among us. The Light of the World has revealed himself, lighting the path to eternal life. Jesus came, died for our sins, rose for our salvation, and is patiently waiting for more souls to come to know of His love and grace.
This Christmas, remember that Jesus came once with angels and with a star as the ultimate gift of God to this world,. Jesus will come again, and this time with the entire heavenly host with the falling of all the stars as he returns for His children. Let’s help the world see Christ this December, as we hold out the Good News of Jesus Christ in all that we say and all that we do in our Christmas celebration.