THE CHRISTMAS TREE
None of the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, mention the date, or the day, or the month, or the year in which Jesus was born. But we are told exactly when Jesus was crucified. He was crucified on the preparation [day before] day of the Passover. The Passover always occurred on the 14th day of the first month of the Jewish calendar. Remember that the four gospels tell us in the greatest detail where Jesus was born, where He lived, and what He did. They also tell us in great detail how and when He died. But they are completely silent as to the date or the day of His birth. Did they forget? Or was it left out on purpose? Could it be that God knew that men would make more of His birth than of His death? It is certainly worth thinking about!
Did you know that we have no record of the early Christians celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ? If you read the New Testament, you will find it to be silent as to the early Christians celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. In fact, it was not until the fourth century that Christians began to celebrate Christmas.
In AD321 Constantine declared the world to be Christian and many of the customs of paganism continued and adapted themselves to Christianity. The celebration of Christmas is just one of those pagan observances. Baal worship included the celebration of Baal's birthday at the winter solstice or December 25th. Look at how Jeremiah describes this observance in the Old Testament. Jeremiah chapter 10 tells us, "1Hear ye the Word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel: 2Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. 3For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. 4They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.
Have you ever heard of such a practice? The practice of cutting a tree out of the forest, bring it home, nailing down and then decorating it with silver and gold. Well, now you know the origin of the Christmas tree. I am not saying that we should toss out our trees necessarily, but that we should make sure that true message of Christ is told at His birth. Remember that a person can celebrate the birth of Christ in Bethlehem and still go to hell. One must trust in the death of Jesus Christ at Calvary in order to go to heaven.
The Bible tells us about two trees that tell us the complete story of salvation! The first tree is found in the Garden of Eden. The second tree is found on the hill of Calvary. The first tree brought about sin and death as a result of partaking of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The second tree upon which Jesus died brings eternal life to all those who partake of it. Let's talk about these two trees.
- Both trees were planted in a garden. The first in the Garden of Eden, the second in a garden unnamed. "41Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid." John 19:41. Is this not a striking analogy that both the first Adam and the last Adam [Jesus Christ] died in a "garden."
- We find the words, "in the midst", in connection with both trees. "9And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil." In the same manner we also read concerning Jesus, "Where they crucified Him, and two other with Him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst." John 19:9.
- We also know that both trees were trees of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. "21For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him". II Corinthians 5:21. On the tree of Calvary, we see the sinless Son of God made to be sin for us so that we might be made the righteousness of God. The first tree caused both Adam and Eve to learn how painful it was to be separated from the living God.
- Both trees are linked to a curse. As the result of the sin of Adam a curse has come upon the whole human race. Jesus Himself became a curse on the second tree in order that He might deliver us from the curse of the first tree. "13Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: " Galatians 3:13.
- Both trees were good for food. Notice that God says about the first tree, "6And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat." Genesis 3:6. The second tree is also good for food. Jesus said in John 6:35 "35And Jesus said unto them, I Am the bread of life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst." When a person comes to Jesus Christ and places their trust in Him they are saved forever.
- Both trees are connected to the word 'paradise.' Adam and Eve when they partook of the fruit of the first tree they were turned out of the paradise of the garden. The thief on the cross believed on Jesus Christ and was told that He would enter paradise. 43And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with Me in paradise." Luke 23:43.
- Both trees are necessary to tell the complete story of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Notice the Scriptures use of the tree to describe Calvary. '24Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed." I Peter 2:24. "13Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:" Galatians 3:13. "30The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree." Acts 5:30. The Scriptures clearly reference the Cross of Calvary as a tree. The tree in the Garden of Eden and the tree of Calvary clearly outline for the complete gospel story from the fall of mankind to God's provision for mankind in the tree of Calvary.
ROMANS 6:23 says, "23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Our focus ought to be on the Gift of God on the tree rather than the gifts under the tree. The great tragedy is that millions will receive and give gifts this Christmas and will have never received the GIFT OF GOD. As we tell the story of Christmas to our families, perhaps we can use the tree to tell the story from the Bible of the two trees. How that the fruit of the first tree caused man to come under God's condemnation. And how the acceptance of Jesus Christ by faith as our Savour will bring about our eternal salvation.
Many have celebrated Christmas all of their life and have never received the Gift of Christmas! Have you received the gift of God? If not, then you will spend all eternity in hell separated from God. Your most important choice in life is to receive this gift.
This gift is NOT available at the local mall! You cannot buy it! We do not deserve it and cannot earn it. The ONLY WAY the Gift of God may be received is THROUGH OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST! You must TRUST Jesus Christ as the One who died for your sins on Mount Calvary, was buried, and then rose again from the dead. The moment you do trust Him, He will indeed save you!
John 3:16-18 says,
"16For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. 18He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but He that believeth not is condemned already, because He hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
We pray that you and your family will have a wonderful Christmas!
Edit Record (for official use)