I love decorating the Christmas tree.
When I was a child, we put our tree up just two weeks before Christmas. We would put the Christmas LP on the turntable and sing songs like "All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth" while we strung multicolored lights on the tree and layered silvery tinsel piece by piece on the branches. As we got older, my mom even bought tiny Christmas trees for my brother and I to have in our own rooms.
In my adult life, I continue to find decorating a Christmas tree each year a rewarding tradition. But as my relationship with the Lord has grown, so has my desire to make sure my traditions matter. When I stumbled upon the symbolism of the evergreen as a picture of God's faithfulness a few years back, I felt fully secure in continuing to set up a pine, either real or artificial depending on the year, in the corner of my living room.
Recently, however, as I was reading Isaiah 55, I discovered that the evergreen has a more specific symbolism in redemptive history. The prophet writes, "Instead of the thorn bush the cypress will come up, and instead of the nettle the myrtle will come up, and it will be a memorial to the Lord, for an everlasting sign which will not be cut off."
The thorn bush, which was a part of God's curse on Adam's work from Genesis 3, is being replaced by a cypress or pine tree, the very symbol of God's faithfulness, and specifically God's faithfulness in the story of Christmas.
We run across thorns all too often in our daily life -- those things which hinder us and keep us from being the people we should. During this Advent season, what a joy to be surrounded by the reminder of the evergreen -- God is faithful, and in the comings of Christ, He has and will keep every promise.
Today's Advent links . . .
My Hope for Christmas at Faith, Fiction, Friends
Decorating for Christmas at Nature in Watercolor