The Lesson of the Christmas Tree (John 8:12-14)
Topic: John Passage: John 8:12–14
The Lesson of the Christmas Tree
(One Lord: So Great a Salvation)
December 18th, 2016 (EVE)
I. When I Say...
Okay. Word association. I'll say a word, and you consider the first thing that comes into your mind. Okay? Ready? “Arizona”. I know some of you thought of things like heat and desert, and maybe “home”. Okay, here's another: “election”. Okay, I'm not even going there tonight.
How about this one: “Christmas”. Many people associate Christmas with things like wreaths, or a tree, or lights and decorations, or music, or Santa, or shopping. But sometimes all of that can keep us from seeing the true meaning of Christmas, do you know what I mean? The true meaning of Christmas is the very thing we've been singing about and hearing about this evening. Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus; of the coming of the Son of God.
Now because they can be distractions, some people would be happy getting rid of all those other things. But instead, I would recommend that we learn how all of those “other things” can point us back to the true meaning of Christmas; how they can serve as reminders, even as teaching tools.
For a few minutes tonight, I'd like to do that very thing with a Christmas decoration we all know. In fact, you probably have one in the corner of your living room or family room. That's right, a Christmas tree is a wonderful reminder of the true meaning of Christmas.
II. The Passage: "The Light of Life" (8:12-14)
Listen to the words of Jesus himself and consider how a Christmas tree points us to these very same truths. This is from the Gospel of John, chapter 8, verses 12-14...
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  So the Pharisees said to him, “You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.”  Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know I come from or where I am going.”
Now it may not seem like it, but think about the connections between these verses and a Christmas tree. For example, think about...
1. The Star (at the top of the tree). Who is speaking in John 8? It's Jesus. Now, the most obvious connection between Jesus and the star is the story of the magi who followed a star to worship the new king. But did you know that Jesus also referred to himself in this way? We read this in Revelation 22:16...
“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” [but also think about...]
2. The Shape (of the Christmas Tree). If we follow the star down the shape of the tree spreads out. This reminds of something we read about in John 8. Jesus know were he came from, even though the religious leaders didn't know. He came from above, from heaven; from the Father. The shape of the Christmas tree is a picture of the Son of God coming down and to spread truth and grace to all people. But
But if we follow the shape up, a Christmas Tree is kind of like an arrow that points back to the star, right? And so we are reminded of the fact that Christmas should always point us back to Jesus , the bright morning star. It also reminds us that Jesus, after His resurrection from the dead, went back to the Father in heaven. In John 8, Jesus talks about where He is going.
But when we look at a Christmas tree, we also see...
3. The Lights (those beautiful lights!). Just like the star reminds us that Jesus is the “bright morning star”, those lights remind us that He is “the light of the world”, as He talked about in John 8:12. All of us, at one point or another, know we are walking in darkness. We feel lost. We feel blind, in so many ways. But Jesus is the light for all of us. He's the light that reveals the truth about God and about life. In fact, that brings us to our final point.
When we see a Christmas tree, we should take note of...
4. Its Color! Green is the color of life. The fact we put up a Christmas TREE and not a Christmas pole or a Christmas rock pile is so important. The traditional Christmas tree is a living tree. It is amazing symbol of life, life that we bring right in our homes and into our hearts.
But what did Jesus say? Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” The light leads us to life. Not just existence. Not just a heartbeat. Not just breathing. No, the light of Jesus leads us to eternal life; a new spiritual life, a new God-focused existence; a transformed life.
The Bible tells us that each and every one of us, apart from God, languishes in spiritual darkness in a state of spiritual death. And if that's true, just think how good, how sweet, how liberating the words of Jesus are. “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
III. A Gift Under the Tree
But I bet on Christmas morning, I would notice something else about your tree. I would notice gifts underneath. I hope this very simple lesson tonight will forever change the way you think about a Christmas tree. That you will never be able to look at one the same again. But that every time, you will look at it's color and lights and shape, and even the star on top, and think of God's gift to you. We read in Romans 6:23...For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
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