I love experiencing the beauty of our living room this time of year. The warmth of a fire, bright flames framed by the darkness of the fireplace, the crackling of the wood burning, the beauty and scent of a live tree decorated with lots of lights and meaningful ornaments all are a constant reminder. They remind me of God’s faithful, steadfast love and grace through the centuries and the years of our lives and mine and Mary’s life together. For a moment, it is a taste of home, shalom- peace and wholeness.

Tears fill my eyes as I think of how God speaks to me through a Christmas tree. The bright, colorful lights point me to the One who came as the light shining in the darkness and the darkness that cannot overcome that light (John 1:4-5). As I see those lights I am reminded of the dark days of my life, some of those recent, and I see how Jesus came into the darkness through his Spirit, by his word and most of all through his incarnational presence, through people loving me, revealing the One who is Emmanuel – God with us.  As I see those lights I’m also reminded of the good days of joy and brightness which often come through people revealing the incarnational presence of Christ.

The various ornaments remind me of the story of Christmas, of Jesus fulfilling his promise to not “leave me as an orphan but to come to me” with his overwhelming loving presence. Other ornaments tell the story of mine and Mary’s life together. In them I once again see the faithfulness of God through the seasons of our lives.

Today I’m working in my office downstairs looking at a small artificial Christmas tree decorated with lights. This tree has been here all year long. Yes, you read that correctly, 365 days a year I look at a Christmas tree. You’re probably wondering, “what’s that all about?” As I look at it, I’m reminded each day of the light that overcomes the darkness. I see a memorial reminding me that God has come – he is Emmanuel – God WITH ME in Christ.

This is the heart cry of every human being – for someone to be present with them each day of the year– to experience the light and warmth of the touch of love, to experience the blessing of Christmas.

As you see the lights of Christmas may you remember that God has sent you to be the incarnational presence of Christ. In the hustle and bustle of this season may you remember the simplicity of being a Christmas blessing through the simplicity of the BLESS skills.   May every light you see remind you to pause to BLESS.

As you do, you answer the heart cry of those you are with and you reveal the very heart of God.


One Step Further:

  1. Pause for a moment and seek to become fully present to God, the presence of His Holy Spirit in you, and His pursuing love for you.
  2. How is the Fellowship of the Trinity, the word of God, the communion of Saints, and body of Christ casting light in the dark places of your life?
  3. How might God be using suffering, crucifixion and death to lead you to resurrection, life and glory even now?