Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.” (Galatians 3:13)
Only five sleeps until Christmas and counting down. When I first wrote these Advent posts, I counted backwards which was not conventional. I had by that stage discarded the large imitation conifer I used as a Christmas tree and have been creating my own Christmas tree for a number of years which is also not overly conventional.
My family have not always been impressed with my trees, but that’s okay. This year, I haven’t yet made one and with only five days to go and a fairly busy schedule, I may not get to exercising my tree creativity.
But why do we need a decorated tree at Christmas time? What is the point? If I google it, I’m sure I could find various stories and ‘good’ reasons why we should have one.
The Bible does not mention a tree, or trees, in the narrative of Jesus’ birth. I’m sure there were trees around somewhere, but they don’t get a mention. A star does. A manger does. Swaddling cloths do, and so does an inn, and a stable. And of course, we should not forget the gifts from the wise men from the east…but no tree.
Trees are, however, mentioned in other parts of the Bible: the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life of the Garden of Eden and Revelation, the trees that are recognised by their fruits symbolising the good works of God’s people, and the tree of Psalm 1, also in reference to God’s people and their spiritual lives.
There is also the tree on which criminals were to be hung in Deuteronomy 21:22-23 and Galatians 3 which refers to Christ who redeemed us from the curse of the law by being hung on a tree as a criminal – even though he was no criminal.
Perhaps we should call the criminal’s tree the Christmas tree and have a wooden cross in our sitting rooms or adorning our front windows. Would we decorate the cross with tinsel and Christmas baubles and lights?
And yet the tree of the cursed is so much closer to God’s Christmas truth.
What is the point of the decorated Christmas tree then? There isn’t one. They are just pretty to look at.
The old rugged cross Anne Murray