Think back to the time of your youth. What ‘happening’
most symbolized the experience of Christmas? Was it waking up in the morning
and seeing a nylon stocking bulging with goodies, hanging at the bottom of the
bed? Or was it the excitement of withdrawing the contents to discover what they
were? Or was it when you were with Mum and Dad, and the rest of the family sat
around the table eating roast dinner and pulling crackers?
Now, here’s a different question. What ‘thing’ most stands out in
your memory? Is it the Christmas pudding? Is it the decorations? For me, it is
the Christmas tree!
The tree would miraculously appear on Christmas Day morning.
It was real, roots and all. It stood in a galvanized bucket wrapped in
decorative paper. Clipped to the branches were small metal candle holders
complete with red candles. Hanging from the branches were colourful baubles,
and at the base of the tree there were parcels. We eagerly examined them to
discover whose names were written on them.
I couldn’t wait for dinner to be over, so that the candles
could be lit, and for us kids to get our hands on the presents. The lighting of
the candles was a magical event that transformed the tree by changing its
appearance, making it vibrant. Right at the very top, there was a golden star that glistened in the
I knew of Father Christmas or Santa Claus, as some called
him, and when I was very young I really believed in him, but there came a
time when I knew it was all lies. He
did not exist! My trust in adults was somewhat dented, and belief had to be founded on facts. Fairy tales did not wash.
Much later when the question of believing in Jesus was
put to me, I had to get hold of the facts to see if I did, or could believe in
When I was a kid I attended Sunday school, I went to church,
and I even sang in a choir. In early adulthood I thought I
believed in Him because I was very active in church affairs - even
taking part in meetings, attending bible study
and prayer groups, ringing the church bells, making posters, cutting the
churchyard grass, ferrying people to and fro, and being nice etc., etc..
But it wasn’t until much later I was able to understand the symbolism of the Christmas tree, and to know and believe the truth of
what it symbolizes. The evergreen tree is reckoned by some Christians
to be a symbol of eternal life – eternal because of being evergreen, and
life because many living plants are
green. The tree points upwards. There, in Heaven above, is a Star - a Star brighter and stronger than any other. This is a Star that was before the beginning of time. Understanding the
significance of this Star and knowing
Him is the work of the Holy Spirit. Through the reading and preaching
of God’s Word, His shimmering, golden light enters into peoples’ hearts, and
imparts new spiritual life by His grace. They know Him and they put their trust
in the Son of God who died and rose again for their salvation. He is the Bright and Morning Star spoken of in
the Book of Revelation, Chapter 22, and verse 16:
“I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the
churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning