The Testimony of the Tree

Written by Jack Hayford
The Testimony of the Tree

The arrangement and decoration of a Christmas tree as a part of Christmastime is a specific statement, not an occasional or accidental surrender to mere cultural tradition. By means of the Christmas tree, we declare:

We believe in celebration

We serve the God who “has given us all things richly to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:7) and who, in His sacred appointments to His people of history, assigned explicit occasions of feasting and rejoicing. While God is neither a giddy image of a Roman Bacchus nor a frumpy American Santa, He is a “happy” God (“blessed” is makarios in the Greek text, 1 Timothy 1:11, meaning “happy”). Through Jesus Christ, He has introduced life into the light. And it is in this light that true celebration can be realized, free of the carnal accessories of sensual practice and the ritualized accouterments of religious tradition.

We believe in sanctification

God’s grace not only provides for our personal progress in purity and piety, but His Spirit has the capacity to infuse with righteousness the manifold areas of our daily lives. This means that amoral traditions may be seized upon by believers and converted to holy occasions and practices so long as the Word and way of the Lord are kept in primary focus. We resist an inert, deadly religious, and nonscriptural notion that participation in such festivals as Christmas and Easter are heathen practices to be shunned by believers. Instead, we hold that only believers have a concept which allows for the fullest and richest celebrations at such times. We do not flee the innocent cultural traits of celebration but choose to fill them with enlightened understanding and pure living.

We believe in symbolism

No one can verify the calendar date of Jesus’ birth, but we accept December 25 as an annual day of declaration that “the Word became flesh,” and that “light has come into the world.” No one can validate the giving of gifts as a divinely appointed means of celebration, but since we serve a gift-giving God (James 1:17), we believe it is appropriate to signal the occasion of His Greatest Gift as a time of sharing in the same spirit of love.

No one can make a case for Christmas trees on the basis of a biblical pretext, but we gather around ours with joy, seeing its living branches as a symbol of everlasting life which has been given to us because of Jesus’ death on The Tree—Calvary—whose naked crossbars “x’ed” out death and ushered in forgiveness, regeneration and eternal hope.

…The lights gleam a testimony of His light-of-the-world glory,

…The ornaments reflect the decorative splendor with which His kindnesses festoon our lives, personally and corporately, and

…The star beams hope with a heavenward ray, reminding us that from thence He shall come again to receive us.

The season is upon us, and in celebrating it, we make it His! For He has made all of life’s loveliest things ours.

Copyright © 2004, 2011 by Jack W. Hayford, Jack Hayford Ministries. All rights reserved.

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