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The Christmas Tree Each year at Christmas time we raise a tree and trim it in preparation of the holiday season.

The tree may be real or artificial, short or tall, green or white, but we each have a special way to decorate the tree, more lights or less, special ornaments or traditional, garland or tinsel, poinsettias or popcorn, it is a unique creation. Did you ever stop to think how much a Christmas tree is like the Kingdom of God ? The most basic tree is made up of a trunk and branches. In John 15:5-7 Jesus tells us I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me

and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given to you. This is to my Fathers glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
Branches, much like us continue to grow. We may grow very close to others. The base of the tree is like the vine, it represents Jesus. When we remain connected to the base we are strong and can withstand much. In our connection with Jesus we are reminded in Philippians 4:13, I can do

everything through Him who gives me strength.

A Christmas tree is also decorated with many ornaments. That is because our life in Christ is much, much more than co-existing with one another. The ornaments of the tree can represent all of this things that enhance our lives and bring us joy; our family, job, school, church, and all of the other activities that make up our lives. These ornaments give our lives depth

and dimension, color and beauty, much like they make the tree unique and special. Of course, what would a tree be without lights. Some prefer white lights or another individual color, others like multi-colored lights. These lights may flash, twinkle, run in sequence or just burn brightly. As the lights help to bring the tree alive the Bible tells us of the importance of Gods light in our lives. In John 3:20-21 Jesus explains to us how the truth is the light.

Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.
Jesus not only used the light to describe Gods truth but also to help us understand what we are to do with the gifts and talents the lights that have been given to us. In Matthew 5:14-16 Jesus again tells us you

are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on a stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
If we look closely at the tree, not only do the lights shine but because of their light they help everything around them glow and sparkle and shine. So too when we are shining we help all of those around us. I am sure you know that for a light to shine there must be a power source. Sometimes the power comes from a battery and usually the power is electricity. The lights dont just light on their own.

Again, this is true with our lives, we have the ability and the capacity to be shining lights, but we need power. Our power comes from the Holy Spirit. Much like electricity this power is unseen yet more powerful than we can imagine. In the Book of Acts in chapter 1, verse 8, Jesus tells us

you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.
Later, when the apostle Paul was addressing the Thessalonians, he talked of the Holy Spirit by saying, For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has

chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction.
The final touch on any good Christmas tree is what is on top. Sometimes it is an angel or other such thing but traditionally it is the star, a shining star for all to see and wonder. The star represents God our Father in heaven, always watching over us and illuminating our way. Did you ever notice that the entire tree points toward the top just as our lives, being connected to Jesus are always pointing to our Father in Heaven. Is there anything else about a Christmas tree? How about presents? I know that the presents are not specifically part of the tree as they come and then they go, but they are still am important part of the Kingdom of God. Presents arent about what you are going to get, they are about what you have chosen to give. Our presents represent sacrifices that we have made and our willingness and desire to bring joy to others. We take special care with wrapping and ribbon and bows to make our gifts extra special for those who are to receive. Even though the person opening the present is excited with anticipation, gifts given out of love provide that same excitement and anticipation to the giver.

We are reminded of the joy of giving in Ephesians 5:1-2. Be imitators of

God, therefore, as dearly loved children, and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
The last interesting fact about the Christmas tree is that it is an evergreen, does that remind you of anything in your life? The tree is called evergreen because it is always green. There is something that comes with the life in Christ supported by the power of the Holy Spirit that we too always have and that is joy. Philippians 2:1-5 sums up this joy, If you have any encouragement for

being united with Christ, if any comfort for His love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassions, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.
At Christmastime we celebrate the joy that we have because God sent his Son into the world to save us and to give us life that is abundant.