A month and a half before Halloween I was walking through Costco, and the Christmas trees were already displayed! Getting a head start Costco? Ah the almighty dollar.
The almighty dollar. Gotta have em right? We go to work, some of us 40 plus hours a week just to get by these days. At the end of the week we get paid for those 40 hours. It’s our wage, and we’ve earned it. We deserve it, wouldn’t you agree?
With that money that we earned perhaps we can run out to Costco, on September 28 and purchase ourselves a shiny new artificial Christmas tree!It’s our money and we own it! That’s what a wage is something we’ve earned and now we own it.
Check out what the Bible says about wages.
“For the wages of sin is death, But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.~ Romans 6:23
Do you see it? We have done the work and we’ve earned, wait for it, wait for it, wait for it.
It’s what sin has earned us. But what is sin, you know we don’t like to use ‘that word’. It is our everyday, wrong thoughts, screwups, struggles, difficulties, mistakes or other words we use to describe, you know, sin.
We don’t like to face the fact that we sin, but hey we do, every day, of every week, all year long.It’s why Christmas trees are currently being sold at Costco. Without sin there wouldn’t be Christmas trees, because there would have never been a need for Christmas.
Do we even think about sin, when we look at a Christmas tree? If your like me, probably not. When I look at a Christmas tree I think of all the gifts that are going to be under that tree on December 25th. We love gifts!
The verse today as you can see has got me thinking about Christmas trees and gifts. Two symbols we see every December 25th and sometimes even at Costco in September. The two symbols probably most synonymous with the birth of baby Jesus. Or should I say, Christ Jesus our Lord.
Let’s take the Christmas tree first. We decorate trees with bright lights, and shiny ornaments, ribbons, beads, maybe some tinsel and an angel on top or a star. It’s a sight to see! They can be very beautiful. That’s kind of the goal.
Now think of the tree itself. One of two things is true about it. It’s either fake, like the one being sold currently at Costco, or it’s dying, as are the ones we buy at the corner lot or from a tree farm. OK, Yeah I know you can buy a live tree and plant it after Christmas, but you’re not supposed to think about those kind. Besides they eventually will die too.
It’s interesting to me that we take this fake, or dying tree and dress it up to look like something it’s not. We do that with ourselves as well. We dress ourselves up to look better than we are, and I’m not talking clothes, I’m talking things like virtue signalling, and good works, trying to buy a stairway to Heaven.It doesn’t work that way though. No matter how much we dress ourselves up, we are still a fake tree with no life or a tree that’s dead but just doesn’t know it yet. Why you ask?
Because, “The wages of sin are death.” We’ve earned, and now we own it. We all face death because of it, and no matter how many trappings we attach to our lives we can’t escape it.
Yet that’s not the end of the story. Because there is a Christmas. And that in itself was the best gift we could ever see under a Christmas tree.
Gifts are not earned, they are given and given freely. Sometimes gifts are just given to you unwrapped, but at Christmas time, we put our beautifully wrapped Christmas gifts under our fake, dying pretty trees.
We haven’t earned them, which is what is so amazing, someone loved me enough to give me something, to bring happiness to my life, if only for a short while.
Christ Jesus our Lord, gave us a Christmas gift, His life! Because he loves us, you, me. He came wrapped in swaddling clothes, and once opened He died on a cross. For you, for me, for everyone. That gift once opened, pays for the wages of our sin. You know, the Death we earned, that we could never pay off. Paid for with the life of Christ Jesus.
Yet here remains a truth about gifts especially Christmas gifts. You don’t benefit from that gift till you open it, and embrace that gift as yours, and then begin to use it.
Have you opened the Christmas gift of Jesus Christ from God? Have you embraced it as yours? Are you using it as it was designed?
I hope you are. If you’re like me, I didn’t always embrace that gift as mine, and at times I struggled to use that gift as designed. I opened the box, but didn’t read the instruction manual that came with the gift. SO I didn’t always get the most out of the free gift of Jesus Christ.
Today I encourage you to see these iconic symbols of Christmas a little bit different. See yourself as the tree, and open that gift from God, it’s right there wrapped beautifully underneath your dying boughs.
Open it, embrace it and use it as designed.