Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "The Birthday Of A King"1 (Lyrics)
Decorating the Christmas tree is an integral part of the celebrations each year. I once helped out at a commercial Christmas tree farm near Ottawa, Canada, in December. It was an impressive operation: planting spruce, balsam fir, and pine trees years in advance in irrigated fields, well planned to have enough trees to be hand-cut by visiting families each year. The tree-shaker machine would shake off any loose conifer needles, and the binder would wrap each tree in a tidy bundle, ready to be tied securely to the top of the car, heading home for decoration and cheer.
Trees are frequently spoken of in the Scriptures, from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden to the tree of life on the banks of the river in the heavenly city. Jesus the Messiah, Who was a descendant in the line of David the king, is several times heralded in prophecy as the Branch growing up from the root of Jesse, David's father. Here are two instances:
Isaiah 11:1 – A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. (NIV)
Jeremiah 33:15 – In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David's line; he will do what is just and right in the land. (NIV)
Jesus ended His life on earth on a cross, a tree stripped of its roots and branches, to pay the price for our sins and offer the way to new life with God.
1 Peter 2:24 – He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. (NIV)
This year, when your family decorates the Christmas tree with favourite and cherished ornaments, do it with a new sense of wonder at the coming of Jesus the Messiah, the Branch of Jesse. I wish you a joyful Christmas and blessed New Year.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You for the gift of Your Son, and the season of Christmas in which we celebrate His advent to our world. Amen.