Drawn to the Tree – January 2018
By the time you read this you may be in full Christmas-decorating- dismantling mode. Some people don’t
let the calendar flip to the new year before they begin removing any evidence that they celebrated the birth of
Jesus. However, if you are someone who probably goes to the other extreme and is still looking at bells and
ornaments in May, you should know that one big Christmas decoration cannot survive too long. The Christmas
Of course if you go artificial, you can leave that beauty up all year round. But if you’ve gone natural, then
you know you should get it out of the house before you wake up one morning knee deep in pine needles. Perhaps
you use some sort of curbside pickup or have the luxury of tossing it in some nearby wooded area by your house.
If you are able to do the latter, and you walk back there in mid-summer, you see a brown skeleton of the tree you
adored just months prior. You are reminded that life has an end. Even for an evergreen.
Some people see the use of an evergreen for the Christmas tree because it is green amidst all the brown
from other trees. It is a sign of life amidst death. And so we haul this reminder of life into our homes each
December. As the world of death and dying people, ideas, philosophies, and everything else surrounds us, we
have a reminder that God is life. Specifically in Jesus he is life. Without our Savior we would have nothing ahead of
us but an eternity of death without ever dying. But with Jesus’ perfect life counted as ours, his Father counts us as
righteous and befitting of eternal life.
But that same tree dies. So as our eyes take in the brownness of death and the return of that tree to the
ground from which it came, we can’t help but remember our own mortality. And that our Savior died, too. The
One is who Life himself, who gives us life, was willing to die for us. He joined this world of death in every way but
sin. And so that included him dying just like the rest of us. But by his death he became the curse himself. And by
rising from the dead, we see in Jesus that death cannot hold us down, hold us back, or hold us here, forever.
So we are drawn to the Christmas tree even going into a new year. For it reminds us of the life we have
with Jesus. And as it dies, so we then are reminded that Jesus also faced death for people like us who are mortal.
So the Christmas tree actually draws our attention to another tree. One used not to decorate a house, but to
destroy the temple of God. One that didn’t bring joy and admiration, but sadness, awe, and adulation. The
Christmas tree points us to Jesus’ cross.
As we set aside one tree this time of year, let’s remember to ponder the other tree throughout 2018. It
will give us proper humility before God. It will motivate us to serve one another in love. It will drive us to share the
gift of eternal life with those in this dying world.
“But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” (John 12:32)