By Grant Walker
The Christmas tree at our house is a big deal. When we go to select our tree our official motto is, “go big or go home.” This year we tried to out-do our previous trees, and we almost went so big it didn’t fit in our home.
I’m not sure what your convictions are about having a Christmas tree. The history of Christmas trees has both a pagan and a Christian history. So depending on what your convictions are I think there is freedom in whether or not you celebrate with a tree in your home.
Actually, the first person to bring a Christmas tree into a house may have been Martin Luther. The story goes that one night before Christmas, Martin Luther was walking through a forest and looked up to see the stars shining through the branches of a tree. It was so beautiful that he went home and told his children that it reminded him of Jesus, who left the stars of heaven to come to earth at Christmas. And so he went out, chopped it down, and brought it inside.
So it wasn’t just Chevy Chase in Christmas Vacation that saw a light coming down from the sky onto the chosen Christmas tree, but possibly Martin Luther as well. There wasn’t a light shining down from heaven on the tree we picked, but the gargantuan tree did catch our eye.
When we asked the owner at the tree farm if the tree could be netted for us, he laughed and shook his head. He assured us that he had the biggest tree netting device they make, and still there was no way that our tree would fit. At this point, I began to get nervous. But we had already cut it down, and there was no way I was going to give up on it.
We did get our tree home and, eventually, inside. It’s really not that tall—about eleven feet high—but the girth is what makes this particular tree impressive. It is about nine to ten feet wide. It has quickly picked up some nicknames—such as monster tree, mega-tree, and the fattest tree anyone has seen indoors.
But here’s why I love making the tree a big deal in our household: it reminds us that the first Adam took and ate from a tree, leading to condemnation for all humanity. It also reminds us that the true and better Adam willingly climbed up on a tree so that there would be no condemnation for those in Christ.
“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—” (Galatians 3:13, ESV)
It was Jesus, the true and better Adam, climbing up on the tree that has made possible our access once again to the tree of life.
“Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates.” (Revelation 22:14, ESV)
If you want your tree to be a true and better Christmas tree, it doesn't have to be a monster tree or a mega tree. Whatever shape or size it is, it can remind you of the Gospel. That through man’s disobedience he took and ate from a tree, leading to condemnation and death. But Jesus Christ climbed up onto a tree, in our place, giving us the right to the tree of life in eternal paradise with Him.
Now, I’ll explain why I especially like a BIG tree. Our tree is so large that you can’t do anything in our downstairs without thinking about it or acknowledging it’s presence. It literally affects everything we do. When people enter our home, it is so obvious that is it a big part of our home and friends can’t help but want to talk about and ask questions regarding it. Likewise, I want the Gospel to loom so large in our home that everything we say or do is with the Gospel in mind. I want the Gospel to affect everything my household does.
When people enter our home, I want it to be so obvious that Jesus is celebrated here that friends and family can’t help but ask and question us. Our tree is a mega tree because I need to be reminded of a mega Gospel. I need to be reminded of the true and better Adam. My prayer for your tree is that it would create fun, shared experiences with family and friends, but also that it would ultimately point you to and remind you of the Gospel all of December.