Last night our church put on our traditional Christmas play. We based our play on the book, "The Three Trees." In this story we see three trees all with a different wish. One wants to be turned into a beautiful box to carry the most valuable treasures in the world. The second one wants to be made into a mighty sailing vessel to carry kings across the seas. The third wants to be left on the mountain and point to God, so when people see him, they will be reminded of God. As the story goes, one is cut down and turned into a manger. He is overcome with disappointment, until one night when baby Jesus is placed inside of it. He knew that he was holding the greatest treasure ever known. The second tree is turned into a small fishing boat. Just as disappointed as the first one was until it found out that Jesus was on board and calmed the seas. He knew that he was carrying the King of Kings. The third tree was pieced together and had to endure a jeering crowd. Then they nailed a man to him. He felt ugly and ashamed. However, He knew after that day that every time that someone looked at him, they would remember the sacrifice on the cross.
My part was interesting. I got to play the part of a disciple in one scene and a Roman soldier in another scene. I know you are probably saying that would be kind of hard. But is was interesting working out the logistics of it. But the part I enjoyed the most was being the Roman soldier. I have talked with several people who said they could not play that part. And I understand that. But it meant a lot to me to put Christ on the cross. It really brought it home to me that it is because of my sin that He had to die on that cross. It was a good reminder to me of what His sacrifice was to me. A chance for eternal life.
Now some people have asked me why we did the whole story? Well, is that not the message of Christmas? It is not just about celebrating His birth. But, the fulfillment of a promise to us as told in the Old Testament. He had to be born before He could die, or the resurrection would mean nothing. He had to become a man, just like me and you. John 1:1-14 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light. There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
He came to pay a debt that He did not owe, and that we could never pay. He did this so we could have eternal life with Him. That is the true meaning of Christmas. We can see this in our favorite Christmas Carols. If you look at "Away in a Manger", "Joy to the World", "Hark the Herald Angels Sing", and so on, you will see that they all start with verses about His birth. Then they talk about His life, and ultimately Him as King and Savior of this world. So this year, as we remember His birth, let us also celebrate His life, death, and resurrection as well.
Thanks for reading, God Bless, and Merry Christmas!
These and more at: Encouraging Thoughts for Life