When we were kids, we always got our Christmas tree the last day of school before Christmas, given to us by the school teachers. Every year for many years, we put the tree up on Christmas Eve and left it up until New Year’s Day.
After I had my own home, I couldn’t get in the mood to decorate until Christmas Eve and I usually left my tree up until long after New Year’s Day. One year I even thought about turning my tree into a Valentine tree, a St Patrick’s tree, and an Easter tree, maybe even a 4th of July tree.
Of course I love a real cedar Christmas tree. I used to buy a real tree every year, usually from the Fire Station or grocery store. The last few years that I bought a real tree, I got a 3 or 4-foot tall Scotch pine to set on a corner table.
I love the smell of a real Christmas tree, but about 5 years ago, I was tested for allergies and discovered I am allergic to all cedar trees. I should have known. It seemed like I always had a cold, with a runny nose and sneezing around Christmas time each year. When I finally gave in and bought that first artificial Christmas tree, I mysteriously didn’t get sick.
Within the Christmas story is the story of the cross. God becoming flesh through Jesus Christ, the Son of God, born of a virgin, Mary—this is the beginning, but the end of the story is Christ on the tree, the cross of Calvary, giving Himself completely for the whole world.
“Because Christ also suffered for us… who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.” I Peter 2:21-24.
From the words of the old hymn, The Old Rugged Cross, written by George Bennard, (1873-1958.) “So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross, till my trophies at last I lay down. I will cling to the old rugged cross, and exchange it someday for a crown.”