Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Wrestling with the Tree

Chris Carpenter - Director of Internet Programming

In what has become a time honored tradition, my wife and I spend the first Saturday morning in December wrestling with a Christmas tree.

Our journey begins in the crawl space over our garage where we pick through dusty old boxes containing items that were very important to us in 1992 but for whatever reason have fallen out of favor over the years. On this particular day, we uncovered my wife’s hermetically sealed wedding dress, a box containing magazines that I thought would become collector’s items but never did, and a Blue Ridge Log Cabin doll house, a relic from my wife’s whim for a new hobby a decade ago.

After we have cleared the area of these items we find our “beautiful” tree just the way we left it last year, a rumpled and crumpled mass of prickly tree limbs stuffed in a duct taped plastic bag. The zipper no longer works, there are puncture holes throughout, yet we still insist on using it.

This annual production could very easily become a Broadway show due to the highly scripted theatrics that ensue. The drama begins when I impulsively grab the tree bag that really could be mistaken for a body bag from a distance and begin jamming, no, ramming it through the crawl space opening. My wife screams that I am going to not only ruin the tree but gouge a hole in the wall in the process. I stand up from my hunched position to protest but everything suddenly goes dim. This is because I have hit my head on the four foot ceiling in the crawl space area. When I finally become coherent enough to stand up, I discover that my wife has successfully negotiated the tree into the hallway and is about to drag it down the staircase to our living room.

“I’ll take it from here honey!” I yell emphatically as I elbow my way past her to grab the tree bag. Without fail, I trip over it and tumble down the stairs with the tree, bag and all, in my arms.

“That’s going to leave a mark,” she yells from the top of the stairs.

I naturally think she is talking about me but when I look up to acknowledge her concern, I discover she is examining a deep, dark groove in the wall that wasn’t there 15 minutes ago.

“For the record, I’m OK,” I shout up the steps while rubbing a three inch scrape on my forehead. She doesn’t hear me. She is too busy wiping the damaged area with something called “The Magic Eraser”.

It doesn’t matter whether I am injured or not. For the tenth year in a row we have accomplished our goal – to move our Christmas tree from crawl space to centerpiece of our living room.

Just as my wife and I are wrestling over a Christmas tree, so too is our nation. In both cases, our holiday tradition is being dragged, not only down the stairs but through a politically correct quagmire of secularized thought.

From Atlanta to Reno and back to Chicago, city officials are trumpeting a respect for diversity as their rationale for changing the name Christmas tree to “Holiday” tree in the public square. And in the case of several towns, neither Christmas nor Holiday is being used to advertise their town tree this year. It is simply called “tree”, as in tree lighting ceremony.

This Christmas conundrum we find ourselves wrapped up in is widening in scope each year. First it was the singing of Christmas carols in public schools, then it was nativity scenes on public property, now it is 50 foot tall evergreens glittering proudly in town squares in baubles and beads.

Dozens of Christmas tree "critics" have argued vociferously that using the term “Christmas tree” excludes people of other faiths and backgrounds.

Wait a second, why do I, a Christian, feel like I am being horribly abused and mistreated? The last time I checked the United States was a nation that claimed to be 85 percent Christian. At least that is what the last U.S. census said. Why then should the remaining 15 percent our country (clearly the minority) be able to dictate how Christmas is celebrated or not celebrated in public? I thought we lived in a country ruled by democracy, where the majority rules.

Sadly, this latest wave of “magic erasing” of Christmas is happening everywhere.

So what is the problem? If so many people feel so strongly about chopping the Christmas out of Christmas tree, why aren’t more congressman, mayors, city councils, churches, pastors, parishioners, people in the know, fighting it? We have seemingly lost the fight for singing Christmas carols in public schools and nativity scenes on public property but have we lost our will for future battles?

While the Christmas tree itself holds relatively little biblical significance (it was adopted from pagan tradition), most people view it as a prominent symbol of Christianity. A decorated tree is representative of God’s blessing and gift to mankind in the form of His son Jesus Christ. Across the world, people use the Christmas tree to teach their children about Christ’s birth. The evergreen tree is symbolic of eternal life.  It represents hope, something our nation is in desperate need of.

For the record, I know of no conversions to Jesus Christ through the tree itself. However, millions have come to a knowing faith of Jesus Christ through an exploration of the Christmas story. It is the “Christ” in Christ-mas tree that creates such consternation.

Ultimately, many people are very cautious about opening the door to Christ. Sadly, they fear what might be on the other side.

In Revelation 3:20 it says, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”

Doors act in at least two ways. First, they protect us by locking out danger. They may also lock us away from beneficial experiences. Anytime we open the door we take a chance on whom or what will confront us. Sometimes it will be a pleasant experience, other times it will be unpleasant.

This is exactly what is at the root of the Christmas tree dilemma we find ourselves in. Many people are afraid of what might be waiting for them on the other side of that door. But they do not need to be.

Before this article breaks down into a point-counterpoint of esoteric thought let us consider the facts. Christmas is a holiday for Christians to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. It is not intended to force anyone, regardless of race or creed, to convert if they do not want wish to do so. It is just that we live in a country where the majority of people living within its geographic boundaries accept the idea of celebrating Christ’s birth.

As a humble card carrying member of the United States, my recommendation would be to leave Christmas in the public square as is. It is what it is. Besides, I can’t imagine singing classic Christmas carols in a politically correct manner. Can you imagine ...

“Good Holiday Men Rejoice”

“The First Holiday”

“Oh Holiday Night”

You get the idea.

Portions contained within this article from the Transformer Study Bible.

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