Archive for October, 2010
Below are two examples of how to decorate your Christmas tree with the different Jesus Tree Ornaments. I lined them up from the top down and left to right, in the order that they are revealed in the “Why we celebrate Christmas” free print-out book. You may leave this book under the tree for those who want to know more about the ornaments on their own. Otherwise witness to your guests following the book or in your own words. Below the pictures are the pages from my novel, “The Jesus Tree Ornaments” where my main character Thomas and his son Isaac, come up with the idea to start calling their Christmas Tree, a Jesus Tree Altar.
“In the past God commanded His people to build altars and there to make sacrifices to Him. God has not commanded us to do that. Instead, He wants our lives to be living sacrifices to Him. However, I don’t think He would mind us making this tree and the ornaments represented on it symbolic of our thankfulness to Him for His many blessings to us. It will be our way of sharing the story of God’s salvation with everyone who enters our home. Our way of saying thanks back to the Father for Jesus and everything else that He has provided for us, not because we are commanded to do it, but because we want to show our appreciation to Him.”
“A Jesus Tree altar?” shouted Isaac.
“Yes,” replied his father. “A Jesus Tree altar; our way of saying thank-you to Him.”
“I believe that Jesus would be very pleased,” answered Thomas’s mother.
“Then it is settled! From now on we will celebrate Christmas with a Jesus Tree altar. Our very own public altar to Him inside our home,” Thomas told them. “The ornaments will reflect back to God what He has done for us and that we recognize and are grateful for His sacrifice and His blessing to us. Jesus is our offering of thanks back to God. The only sacrifice that is acceptable to Him for our sins.”
“I like that idea,” said Sara.
“Me too!” joined in Thomas’s mother.
“We must always remember to have thankful attitudes toward God. He now lives in us, in our hearts. Our daily lives should be living altars of sacrifice to Him and be a reflection of His grace to everyone. Not just on Christmas Day, but on every day of the year. We should not give mixed messages to people about what we believe in, nor do we need to point out all their errors to them. The light of His message will expose their darkness to them. The greater the darkness, the more the light will be noticed…”
The Jesus Tree Ornaments, Chapter 16, pages 384 & 385
Last Year my Sunday School class went to a kid’s shelter for the second year in a row, and presented “Why We Celebrate Christmas” to them. We also provided dinner, free books of “Why We Celebrate Christmas”, crayons to color them, and we all had a great time ministering to the children. The costumes were loaned to us by our church. As usual with these kinds of events we got more blessed than the kids. This is an event that one or several people can put on. You can print out the ornaments in black and white plus the book and give them to the children to color later. You don’t need to make a major production out of this just have fun. Like I said, one person can do it or several. At home with your family, at church, or wherever the message can be shared, just make sure you include JESUS!
It was now obvious to him that people did not want to hear from him any more than they wanted to hear from the baby Jesus. He wondered if the cross had any purpose or value to it today or if it was just another ornament. But, if it did have purpose or value, then shouldn’t it be shared? Perhaps the cross has lost its meaning in today’s pop culture just like everything and everyone else. However, shouldn’t Christians believe that they know something about the cross that others don’t? He could understand the young mother’s position if he had been asking her about how much money she makes. That is personal, but your faith? Is that really something meant just to be personal?
What he did not understand was why such strong hostility was directed toward him by the mother if she was a Christian. Why should the most important person to a Christian not be shared with his or her own child? They are their children, not the world’s. And, if Christians don’t teach them what to believe in, then who will, the world? What would the world teach them to believe in? He knew the answer. A make-believe story designed so that the sellers of Christmas could profit, a universal deception.
Then it occurred to him that he was not a Christian, so why should he care? He wasn’t sure that he did, but it made him wonder what it was that he taught his son about Christmas or anything else spiritual, for that matter. The answer was nothing. He did not believe in Jesus or Santa Claus. Yet he was certain of two things. If you excluded Jesus from your child’s Christmas, no one would care, because they would consider that your business. But if you suggested that you did not let your children believe in Santa Claus, they would consider it their business, ask “How dare you?” and accuse you of being a child abuser.
The Jesus Tree Ornaments, Chapter 3, page 47.