(From the heart of Rae Botsford End)
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” -Jeremiah 17:7-8 (ESV)
Last year, in one of these Advent blog posts, I wrote, “I like to know the origin of a thing in order to understand the thing.” That is still true, but the origin of Christmas trees really has no bearing on their use today. Christmas trees are deeply ingrained in our current culture as mere seasonal décor, and have been decoupled from their early pagan meanings. They are also ubiquitous every December. It occurred to me, in church during Sunday worship, that they can now serve as a beautiful reminder.
Tertullian, a well-known early Christian author, in exhorting believers not to light their lamps or hang laurels on their posts, said, “You are a light of the world, and a tree ever green.” Context aside, he had a point. We are.
Only God Himself is truly ever green, ever alive, living from before the beginning and beyond the end of all things. We, when rooted in Him, are also forever green. When rooted in Him, we are visibly alive in darkness, when the world grows cold, when the rest of the world is asleep. When rooted in Him, we are visibly growing when things around us fall apart. We put our faith in the Tree forever green, the shoot of Jesse, Jesus Messiah, and wait for His return.
So let us, when we see Christmas trees, remember the One who is truly Evergreen. Let the lights remind us that He made us to be light in the darkness, that He is light, that He holds the stars.
And let them remind us to stay rooted in Him, and to be “a light of the world, and a tree ever green.”