Summary: A sermon about pointing beyond ourselves.
“Christmas Trees in the Bible”
By: Ken Sauer, Pastor of East Ridge United methodist Church, Chattanooga, TN
A few weeks ago I was sitting in a restaurant with a friend when my attention went to a Christmas tree in the corner of the room.
It had different colored lights, ornaments of silver and gold and a bright red bow on the top.
I got thinking, and thus speaking…
I said, “Imagine if someone from some other culture, who had no idea of Christmas trees saw this. What would they think? We see beauty in Christmas trees; what would they see?
Would they not think we were crazy?”
Then it occurred to me that Christmas trees, or something like them are nothing new.
For between 5 and 6 hundred years before Christ, the Prophet Jeremiah quoted the Lord describing something that certainly sounds similar to our modern day Christmas tree.
“They cut a tree out of the forest…They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with a hammer and nails so it won’t totter.”
Most of us love Christmas trees do we not, and we could hardly imagine the Christmas season without them.
And for Christians, Christmas trees often help us in our remembrance of Christ’s birth.
Lot’s of ornaments are of angels and the baby Jesus in the manger.
Many Christmas trees have a star placed on top which reminds us of the star which guided the Magi to the place of Jesus’ birth.
And the tree itself reminds us that Christ died on a tree…
…the green pine needles remind us that death did not and does not have the final word!
Christmas trees are pretty awesome indeed!
They point beyond themselves to Christ!
And this should be our entire message as well!
As the great evangelist...the Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Corinth: “When I came to you, brothers, I did not come to you with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”
When we speak to others...
....are we trying to get them to be impressed by us or by Jesus Christ?
When we serve others...
....are we just looking for recognition for ourselves or do we want them to know that it is not I doing this, but
Christ Who lives in me?
“Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”
How badly do we want others to come to know the liberating and transforming power of Jesus Christ?
When we point beyond ourselves to Jesus Christ...
…we are not only freed from the heavy--self-conscious--burden to impress...
...but our entire lives are turned outward as we are transformed into joyful and expectant disciples of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords!
And once we have gotten a taste of this kind of living...
...everything else is as bland as cardboard!
Our secretary, Rebecca, was telling me about how some 4th and 5th graders at the church she attends decided to raise money for a needy family this year.
Someone in the church knew of a family that is having an especially hard time.
The mother and father, both divorced and remarried are trying to raise 6 teenage boys and the husband recently lost his job!
To top this off, the husband, only in his 30’s, has been found to have a growth on his neck which may be a sign of even worst things ahead.
The kids were able to raise $450.00.
So they went shopping, and shopping and shopping.
And they bought in bulk, so as to get more bang for their buck!
They bought so much food and other necessities for this family that it was almost too much to transport.
The kids showed up at the family’s door with a card and the husband answered.
They told him that they had heard he and his family were dealing with some difficulties and they had felt God calling them to try and help.
The man thought they were talking about the growth on his neck, of which he had told no one about.
“But how did you know about this?” he inquired.
“Who could have told you?”
The kids, not on the same page, simply replied, “The Lord laid it on our hearts that you might need some help this year…that you are facing some tough times.”
The man didn’t know what to make of this…
…and holding the card, he didn’t expect much more than a fruit basket or something…
“Do you mind if we bring some groceries into your home?” they asked.
The man, mouth dropped open, hardly able to believe his eyes watched as child after child walked past him into his home carrying sacks filled with groceries.