According to legend and tradition, the Christmas tree tradition started with Martin Luther (the Reformation theologian, not the civil rights leader). He felt the nativity was too Catholic and wanted something protestants could use for Christmas. He settled on a Christmas tree, which for him, represented the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden.
He related that to Christ. The Tree of Life allowed humanity to live in the presence of God. Similarly, Jesus allows us to restore that relationship and live in God’s presence once more. Having a tree, Martin believed, showed others that Christ was the center of the home and the Christmas celebration.
In fact, early tree were decorated with fruits (representing the fruit of the tree of life) and candles (signifying the worship of Christ). Now, we have bulbs (shaped like fruit) and electric lights (which replaced candles.) The meaning, though, is no different. Christ is to be the center of our Christmas celebration.
As a family of faith, we should do the same thing. I love decorating the youth room as a group. I love singing Christmas carols as a church. It unites us in our celebration of Christ as Christmas. It allows us to pause and consider why we celebrate this day to begin with.
When I do, I always go back to Isaiah 9:6. In that passage, Isaiah describes the Messiah. It’s a famous passage used at Christmas, but it doesn’t make it any less potent. Jesus is my counselor, my everlasting father and my prince of peace. Each of those names mean something different to me at different times of my life. Yet, they always point me back to Jesus Christ.
This Christmas I hope you can focus on Jesus. Make him the center of your Christmas celebration.