For God so loved the world that he gave us His only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life! John 3:16
Our Christmas tree has lights we bought from the store. But and from the angel near the top to the ornaments on every branch the rest are gifts – except the candy canes! Some are home made, like my sister’s sand dollar wreath and the bell made of yarn from our Nepali friends. An Irish porcelain cottage rings with memories of a man named Mark who lived at our home for a year and showed us how to boil and then fry cabbage in butter. The Teddy bear from my nursing home friends reminds me how our hearts are still linked even though a disease has separated us physically this year. Nancy’s mom who had a business of creating home made ornaments gave us enough to fill the branches with soldiers, rocking horses, reindeer and clowns. Memory of each person comes back to me as I hang our precious collection again on the branches. I see again both those Christmases filled with laughter, and surrounded by family as well as the ones when we were alone and struggling with disappointment and conflicts.
Yet the Bible tells us that all through these 2,000 Christmases since Jesus came, how God has given us more than a beautiful keepsake to hang. Instead He gave us his only Son who, hung on quite a different tree than ours. On His tree, He took on all the sin and shame of every forgotten heart. His gift was painted red with blood that flowed down from His hands and feet and a wound just beneath his heart made by a Roman spear.
So in the same way remember the first Christmas night when God sent His angels to wake up the shepherds, that He was also wanting to wake up hearts. God remembered our weaknesses and His promise. Jesus came and from that moment in the stable till with the bread at the Last Supper table, when He said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” God has forever remembered us. God has given us the cross which is His memory tree. If we will look there with eyes of faith we will see the very best gift of Christmas, just waiting to be opened!