Advent is upon us! For those of you who don't know me, you will soon find out that Christmas is my favorite season. I wait for it with much anticipation and am sad when the season is over. Some people feel that I can be a bit obsessive about the holiday, but as far as I am concerned, you cannot appreciate this season enough. Yes, there are all of the preparations and lists and shopping and cooking and cards and more cooking and more shopping and, . . . . Yet, it is the truly special moments that this season offers that brings us so richly close to our Savior, Jesus.
During Advent, I hope to share with you what different symbols of Christmas mean to me. Some of them I have read about, others I have shaped myself over the years. My prayer is that throughout this Advent season, the words of this blog will bring you closer to Jesus, through a simple faith, that will enhance this Christmas. Advent means "the coming of Christ" . Our preparations for Jesus' coming do not have to be flamboyant or grand. What they need to be is meaningful to us and to our Savior. Think about how much we prepare when family or friends come to visit. When we know someone special is coming, we prepare, we cook, we clean, we shop, we want their visit to be perfect. Such should be our Advent season, inviting Christ into our home for a special time when we glorify Him!
For this first blog during Advent, I wanted to take the symbol of the Christmas tree. I love Christmas trees. So much so that I have one in every room of my home. We have the "live" tree in our living room (the one that you see in the picture), which is our family tree. The rest of the trees are artificial but each mean something special. The one in the kitchen? This one is decorated with cookie cutters and candy canes. The dining room is coordinated with the decor of the room - cranberry color. The one in our family room is filled with ornaments that have been given to me over the years from my Sunday School students. The one in my bedroom is a small lit tree that has lit my way through dark times and bright. Why so many trees?
Yes, they each have special meaning, but wherever I go in my home, I am reminded of the evergreen tree. I am sure it was something I read many years ago, but the evergreen tree is a wonderful symbol of everlasting life. It is strong and tall and the green color represents the life that we always have in Jesus. As he came into this world to save us from our sin, he came to give us the everlasting life that can only come through him. Through a simple faith of saying "Yes, God, I believe you came and suffered and died for me -for my sins", you gain the eternal life of joy in heaven. The strength and life that comes with that simple faith, the same strength and life found in the evergreen tree, is what we strive for as Christians. Yes, sometimes we might sway with the wind, but our strength that comes from God will last us an eternal life.
Thus, the evergreen tree, a symbol of Christmas is a special part of our home's Christmas celebration. Yes, each child has their own tree that they also decorate in their room. And as they move out on their own, as our oldest child Sarah has done, their tree goes with them. I pray that the everlasting faith that we have tried to share with them as well will go with them for eternity.
My trees are all up for the season. As the last of the decorations were delicately placed, tears rolled down my cheeks. The house, once again, shared our joy of everlasting life - in each and every room. I pray as we begin this Advent season, you may take a few moments to appreciate the evergreen and be reminded of everlasting life in Jesus.
"I am telling you the truth: he who believes has eternal life." (NIV). John 6:47