Have you ever wondered why we bring a tree into our house at Christmas time? There must be something to this engraved world-wide tradition. Hmm…ask, seek, knock, and God promises to answer. I think He led me to the root (no pun intended) of this generational tree practice by guiding me to Leviticus, of all places. Listen to God’s explicit instruction to Moses concerning the Israelite’s celebration, the Feast of Tabernacles:
You shall celebrate the feast of the Lord for seven days, with a rest on the first day and a rest on the eighth day. Now on the first day you shall take foliage of beautiful trees, palm branches and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the Lord… Leviticus 23:39-40.
The Israelites were to put all of these beautiful branches in and around their tent to signify His goodness to them while they wandered in the desert those forty years. He protected them, He provided for them, He was with them both day and night…
And now, do we not have even more reason to celebrate God with us? He dwelt among the Israelites in a tent; He dwells among us in our hearts through Jesus Christ. Yes, He has brought light into my darkness, hope into my existence, Life into my soul. My sister and brother, it is now our turn to rejoice before the Lord.
So yes, a tree is in my house! And it is adorned with lights and balls and berries and bows. For it represents the abundant Life I have found in my Savior. He became poor (think of the tree He died on, the old rugged cross), that I might become rich (the tree of Life!). I am rich because my Wonderful Counselor, my Mighty God, my Eternal Father, my Prince of Peace has filled my hollow heart with love and joy and peace. You see, it’s not really about the gifts under the tree, the gift is the tree. Rejoice, rejoice, again, I say rejoice.
I challenge you (and myself) to do two things this Christmas; actually, I think God does. One, bring in foliage of beautiful trees, or your Christmas tree, and worship the goodness of your God who is with you. And then, go to the world, your world, and tell them why they have a tree in their house; keep this in mind, they are dying to know.