Wednesday, December 15, 2010

O Tannenbaum

"To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God." Revelation 2:7a

My daughter brought home a shiny red apple ornament with the year "1997" penned in gold paint across it from her second grade teacher. I thought it an odd symbol for a Christmas ornament but never-the-less hung it by its gold cord amongst the myriads of other decorations on our evergreen tree. It now adorns my daughter's tree in her first home.

I never knew until today, the significance of that ornament. According to my devotional, The Heart of Christmas by Hank Hanegraaff, the origin of the German Christmas tree began with the "paradise tree." The paradise tree was a freshly cut fir tree (tannenbaum) brought inside and decorated with red apples as a reminder of the Tree of Life from the Garden of Eden; the tree that promised eternal life in the presence of God.

The Garden of Eden also represents Paradise Lost with the entrance of sin through Adam and Eve. So why would we want a symbol of what was lost to adorn our Christmas tree?

The birth of Jesus ushered in God's plan for atoning our sin. Jesus' birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension points us all toward Paradise Found. If we confess our sin and believe in our hearts that Jesus is Lord, then we are promised eternal life in the presence of God.

Jesus points us back to the Tree of Life.

I'm not one to enjoy a tree with only one type of decoration adorning it. But I do think from now on my tree will include some shiny apples.

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