(Jesus said) "Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit." Matthew 12:33
We are still in the 12 days of Christmas, so I can still talk about some Christmas customs, well, actually, two customs of Christmas: the Christmas tree and the Advent calendar.
According to some, Martin Luther was the first to decorate the Christmas tree. Whether he did or not, I don't know. I do know the tradition comes from Germany, which is also the originating country of the Advent Calendar, that device designed to help people count down the days of Advent.
Well, Germany is still the country of innovation.
This year a German man is facing drug charges after they found he had decorated his home's six-foot-tall marijuana plant. He had the twinkling lights on the plant and had intended to put on more decorations. He even wanted to put the presents under his plant.
Then there's the fellow who, instead of putting a treat or a Scripture behind the doors of his Advent Calendar, put marijuana. This all goes to prove how much we humans need a Savior. You see, God created the world to be a perfect place for us, chock full of wonderful things.
Sadly, we didn't appreciate God's blessings. No, we ruined them. We still do. Since we ruined so many other gifts, God decided to give us the best gift of all: the gift of His Son. It was a unique gift of grace, designed and destined to win our salvation.
And how did we treat this wonderful gift of grace? Jesus' contemporaries rejected Him, scorned Him, mocked Him, beat Him and nailed Him to a cross. The Father knew we would try to ruin the gift of His Son even as we have ruined all the other gifts He has given.
Thankfully, we didn't succeed in destroying this gift. Yes, humanity killed Jesus, but three days after His death, He rose and now, all who believe on Him as their Savior are washed of their sins and saved.
Jesus has saved us. What an incredible comfort those words are when we humans still mess up almost everything -- even something as simple and symbolic as a Christmas tree and an Advent calendar.
THE PRAYER: Dear Father, we ask forgiveness for the gifts we don't appreciate and the ones we misuse. Change us so we may reflect to others the change we have experienced in having Jesus as our Savior. May His love be a gift that we share with others. In His Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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