Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

Christmas Archive

Friday

20

December 2019

The Christmas Tree and The Cross

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Share Button

To truly celebrate Christmas, you can’t have one without the other

“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21) | The Christmas Tree and The Cross | read more at hopereflected.com

“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly,” Jesus said in John 10:10. By dying on the cross for our sins, Christ paid the ultimate price in order to grant eternal life to anyone who believes in Him.

How is eternal life associated with the Christmas tree?

Have you ever wondered how eternal life is associated with your Christmas tree? Centuries ago, Europeans apparently used evergreen trees as a symbol of eternal life. Years later, evergreen trees such as fir, spruce trees, or pine trees were brought into homes and decorated as a symbol of Christmas – this is a tradition thought to have originated with German Lutherans.

Regardless of your denomination, the Christmas tree is a symbol of Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Jesus, the Son of God, came to earth for one purpose: To save us. He willingly went to the cross and gave His life in order to save us from our sins and to give us eternal life. “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)

Trees referenced throughout Scripture

Trees are referenced so many times throughout the Bible. Two examples of trees used in Scripture that have incredible significance – and ties to Christmas – are the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and the cross.  Adam and Eve sinned at the bottom of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil when they ate the fruit (Genesis 3:6), and Christ paid for our sins when He gave His life on the cross (1 Peter 2:24).

But it doesn’t end there! Yes, Christ died on the tree, paid the ultimate penalty for our sins, and was resurrected to life three days later. If you choose to put your trust in Christ and believe in His name, you too will have eternal life. “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:22) You just need to trust Him. Your testimony need not be an exciting story; your testimony can be as simple as confessing your sin to Christ and putting your faith in Him.

Why do you celebrate Christmas?

Why do you celebrate Christmas? If you don’t celebrate, ask yourself why not. Christmas is the celebration of our Saviour’s birth, and while the decorations of red and green, the talk of Santa Claus, all the presents, and the food, may hold a certain attraction and enjoyment, true contentment can only be found when you remember the Christmas tree and the cross. To truly celebrate Christmas, you can’t have one without the other. The cross is as integral a part of Christmas as the evergreen that’s standing in your living room. Just because you may not believe doesn’t mean it’s not true. “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18)

Originally published as “The Christmas Tree and The Cross.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. December 13, 2018: 6. Print. Web.

Share Button

Wednesday

18

December 2019

Peace, Be Still (I Saw Three Ships)

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Share Button
"And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” (Mark 4:38-40) | Peace be still | Read more at hopereflected.com

The Bible is filled with rich history that involves ships

I Saw Three Ships is an English Christmas carol with which many of us are familiar. While there’s always been some debate as to how the ships could be headed to Bethlehem (when the closest body of water is the Dead Sea), some people believe that the ships being referenced in the carol were not ships at all, but rather the three camels that the wise men used on their journey to meet Jesus.

The ship’s rudder determines the direction that a ship is going; whichever way the rudder turns, the boat will go in the direction with the least water pressure resistance. The direction we choose is based on our foundational beliefs, and that is why it’s so important that we have a firm foundation.

Peace, Be Still

The Bible is filled with rich history that involves ships, and we can learn many lessons from these accounts. It was from the stern of a ship that Jesus taught us the importance of finding peace and rest in Him. Mark 4 details one of the times that Jesus quieted the sea: “And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” (Mark 4:38-40)

It was also from a ship that Jesus provided reassurance and reinforced our faith. When His disciples were caught up in unsettled waters, Jesus walked to them on water. Doubting whether it was really Jesus, Peter wanted to walk to Him on the water to be sure. And Jesus said, “Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” (Matt. 14:29-31)

Jesus used a ship to remind us that He is our provider

We can recall to mind the times that Jesus used a ship as the vessel to remind us that He is our provider, and that He does exceedingly abundantly above and beyond all that we can ask or think. In Luke 5, when Peter first meets our Lord, Jesus instructs him to let down his nets, and the multitude of fish Peter and his crew catch is so large that the net breaks (Luke 5:6). From this point on, Peter becomes a fisher of men. Or what about in John 21, after the resurrection, when Jesus appears to the disciples and tells them to cast their net, and they can’t draw the net in because there are so many fish (John 21:6).

Whatever season you’re sailing through, you will find true peace, rest, and reassurance when you put your faith in the One whom even the wind and the sea obey. He will be the anchor for your soul.

Originally published as “I Saw Three Ships.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. December 6, 2018: 6. Print. Web.

Share Button

Monday

19

December 2016

Encouragement | Giving | Luke 6:38

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Encouragement

Share Button

give luke 6:38 encouragement

“Give, and it shall be given unto you.” Luke 6:38

As we head into the season of giving, it’s important to remember the true meaning of Christmas: God sent His Son to die on the cross so that we would have eternal life.

It’s not the gift or how much we are able to give that matters; but rather how much love and the sincerity of our heart that we put into giving.

Proverbs 11:24-25 tells us, “One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”

Ultimately, anything that we’ve been blessed with on this earth is a gift from God. This is an important thing to keep in mind when you consider how you’ll give this Christmas.

“Give, and it shall be given unto you.” Luke 6:38

Share Button

Saturday

22

November 2014

Hope, She Wrote: How to Create Traditions and Make Memories

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work, Uncategorized

Share Button

nov19_tradition

Christmas season comes and goes so quickly each year that it can be hard to embrace the spirit of the season. In my November 19th column for The Minto Express, I share five ways to prepare your heart for the holidays.

Every year about this time, I find myself getting sentimental and feeling somewhat melancholic for days of yore. Maybe it’s all the Christmas decorations going up, or the first snowflakes falling, or the traditions that surface so faithfully year after year. Whatever the reason, these are times when I find myself reminiscing and wanting to make memories.

It seems these days that we’re so caught up in the commercialization of the Christmas season that we’ve lost sight of the true meaning of Christmas. In fact, it’s no longer politically correct to even say “Merry Christmas”. What is that?! Big box stores haul out the holiday goods right after Hallowe’en and somewhere between November 1st and December 25th society seems to miss the whole point of the season. Anyone else miss the days when we valued tradition, remembered our foundations, and celebrated our roots? Thought so.

While Christmas day may still be more than one month away, now is a great time to start preparing our hearts for this memorable time of year. Christmas is a time where we celebrate the greatest gift ever, and with that in mind, here are some suggestions for getting in the giving spirit (and maybe creating some new traditions along the way!):

  1. Support a local community cause. This doesn’t have to mean giving money; it could mean serving in a community kitchen to those less fortunate, donating non-perishable food items to your local food bank, or taking an hour or two to spend some time with a house-bound friend or aging relative.
  2. Start a gratitude list. In 2013, a friend of mine took time each day to write down one positive thing that happened in her life every day for most of the year. Then, near the end of year, she sat down and reviewed all of the awesomeness in her positivity jar. Whether you keep track with notes in a jar or a journal, take inventory of the positive things in your life.
  3. Be a thoughtful giver. It’s not about how much money you spend or who gives the coolest gift. Get creative in your gift giving; share your talents, and think outside the box.
  4. Share traditions with loved ones. My brother and sister-in-law do this every year, inviting family to help them trim the tree. Decorating for the holidays becomes less of a “to-do task” and more of an opportunity to create memories. Whether you’re setting up a tree or singing carols, or even baking cookies, spend some time with those you love.
  5. Remember the real reason for the season. Whatever your ‘religious’ beliefs or practice (or maybe lack thereof) throughout the year, the fact is, Christmas is a time to celebrate the greatest gift ever. True story.

“Today’s innovation is tomorrow’s tradition.” [Lidia Bastianich] Try something today to help create meaningful memories and traditions for yourself, your family, and your friends!

Robertson, Hope. “Tradition.” Minto Express 19 November 2014: 9. Print.
Share Button