... Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree. Galatians 3:13b
AS WE ARE STILL LITURGICALLY IN THE CHRISTMAS SEASON, THIS WEEK'S DAILY DEVOTIONS WILL CONTINUE TO CENTER ON THE SAVIOR'S BIRTH AND LITTLE-KNOWN PIECES OF INFORMATION CONCERNING OUR CELEBRATION OF THAT SOUL-SAVING EVENT. PASTOR KEN KLAUS
It was many years ago that my parents made a temporary investment in an aluminum Christmas tree.
There were a number of advantages to the decision. First, aluminum trees don't shed their needles; in the long run they are cheaper, and they sure can reflect a color wheel as they revolve. Also, the aluminum tree meant mom didn't have to spend hours hanging tinsel. (Throwing clumps of the glittery stuff was forbidden.)
But why tinsel?
Where did the tradition come from? According to one German legend, tinsel began with a wife who was zealously cleaning her house for Christmas. All the spiders in that home thought it best if they made a retreat to the attic. From their perspective they could see the lady finish her cleaning and decorate the family tree with beautiful ornaments.
After the woman of the house went to bed, the spiders came out of hiding and crawled all over the tree, as they investigated all the ornaments. It was only later they realized they had left webs everywhere they had gone. According to the legend, the spiders were saddened by what they had done and how they had ruined the woman's work.
That was when an angel appeared and told them not to worry. With a touch the angel turned the web into silver and gold tinsel. His job completed, the angel said, "There is only one thing. One of you must remain on the tree as a remembrance of how One made a great sacrifice for many."
A fanciful story? Of course, but it is also a story which eventually makes a powerful point.
In contrast to many of our modern TV Christmas specials which say little or nothing, this legend reminds Christians that God's Son, the Savior of the world, came to offer His life as a ransom for ours.
True, we have just stood before Jesus' manger, but we dare not stay there forever. We must travel with the Savior to the Calvary cross, where Jesus will pay the debt our sins have incurred.
Christmas is only the beginning of our remembering. And what do we remember?
As the angel said, we remember "how One made a great sacrifice for many."
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, while there is always great joy in standing with the shepherds at Your manger, may we also understand the commitment made with Your coming. That You were willing to offer Your life for ours is truly a great and mighty wonder. This season and always may we be thankful for Your sacrifice. This we ask in Your Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries