By Doug Bing, Washington Conference president
Every year I hear friendly debates about Christmas trees.
Some will only have a tree if they have personally received a permit to cut a tree down in the forest. For them, it is a family adventure to drive to the mountains, tramp through the snow and woods to find the perfect tree, cut it down, load it up, and drive home to decorate it.
Others who also like a real tree have a favorite tree farm, and they do a similar process. They just don’t travel quite as far.
Still others in the real tree camp go to a store that has trees already cut and simply pay the store, load the tree into the car, and go home.
Of course, there are people like me who remember a time when the popular Christmas tree was made of aluminum tinsel. We had one when I was growing up.
I loved that tree.
We would unpack the parts of the tree, set up the stand, and then place a single pole in the stand. Then out of the individual sleeves would come the branches. My sister and I would poke the branches into predrilled holes. The tree would be up in all its silver, shimmering glory. I loved staring at it. You could even shine colored lights at the tree to make it shimmer in different colors. I thought it was magical.
Since then, our home has had a number of different trees.
We tend to stick with artificial trees but on occasion have had a real one. There are those in our family who think real trees are the only way to celebrate. Others don’t really care.
There are several trees that are made possible by the gift of the Christ child. Romans 11:17 speaks of the olive tree that had wild olive branches grafted into the main tree. The verse is speaking of those believers who learn of Jesus and are grafted into the tree, which represents salvation in Christ. It is also referring to the fact that Jesus came to live, die, and be resurrected for all people and not just for a select group.
All nations, tribes, and peoples can be grafted into that tree.
There is another tree that all believers will get to see. It is decorated with 12 different kinds of fruit. Like the olive tree, it is a tree for all peoples who have placed their faith in Jesus. The tree of life mentioned in the book of Revelation is truly a special tree that is planted by the river of life. The Bible says this river with a tree growing on both sides of it flows directly from the throne of God and the Lamb (Revelation 22:1, 2).
I am looking forward to seeing this year-round Christmas tree and knowing that Jesus is the eternal life giver.