Pastor Michael Henderson
By Pastor Michael HendersonShiloh Church of God in Christ
Did you know that over 40 million real trees and 15 million artificial trees will be sold during this year's Christmas season?
Here's another interesting fact . . . . .The custom of decorating the Christmas Tree began in Germany in the first half of the 700's and, at that time, was actually called ‘the Christ Tree.'
While there are differing views concerning whether or not Christmas should celebrated, one thing is for certain, the Christmas tree has been around for a long time and is definitely here to stay. As one of the major focal points of the Christmas holiday, I believe there are many lessons that can be learned from the Christmas tree.
One of the things that make Christmas trees so attractive and interesting is the lights. Some Christmas trees have white lights; some have colored lights, while still others have a mixture of them both. Some lights blink, while others illuminate in a constant fashion.
Did you know that the great theologian, Martin Luther, is credited with being the first one that actually brought the Christmas tree from the outside to the inside and decorated it with lights?
The story is told of Martin Luther walking through the woods thinking and praying; and, as he looked at the trees in the forest, he noticed the backdrop of the beautiful stars behind them. He thought to himself, "Wouldn't it be incredible if we could replicate that same effect?" So, he took candles and put them in some trees to make it look like the stars were shining through the branches.
Just as Martin Luther wanted to show his children the beauty of the lights on the tree, our Heavenly Father wants to show His children the beauty and power of His light. Light is characteristic of everything righteous and good.
Jesus said, "As long as I am in the world, I am the LIGHT of the world" (John 9:5). He also spoke to His disciples and said, "You are the LIGHT of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden" (John 5:14). Christ has transferred His light to each of His children, enabling us to become His agents of light in the world.
Our world is filled with darkness. There's darkness all around us. However, Christ has given us the light of His Spirit and the light of His Word to penetrate and illuminate that darkness. Why? Because there's too much that can go wrong in the darkness!
You can't see where you're going in the darkness. You can take wrong turns and make wrong choices in the darkness. You can stumble and fall in the darkness. You can be taken advantage of in the darkness. So, living in darkness is not God's will for His creation. Instead, He has given us His light to shine brightly in our own lives, as well as the lives of others.
This holiday season, I encourage you to keep Jesus and His light at the center of your Christmas. When you see the holiday lights on Christmas trees and houses, remember, the best gift you can give yourself and others is the gift of God's light.
Jesus said, "Let your LIGHT so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven" (John 5:16). Let God's light shine in your home, on your job, in your neighborhood, and in your church.
As you do so, you will not only brighten the lives of others, your life will be brighter and better as well.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!