THE CHRISTMAS TREE………

It is said that in the seventh century a zealous young English missionary was the first person to use the evergreen tree as a symbol of GOD. Winfrid, who would later become known as Saint Boniface, used the tree as an object lesson. He taught that each point on the triangular-shaped tree represented a different Person of the Holy Trinity- Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Legend has it that one day Winfrid came upon a group of men offering a sacrifice to an oak tree as an act of worship. So angered was he by this idolatry the Winfrid swung his ax and felled the oak tree with one mighty blow. According to the tale, a missionary proclaimed that the tiny new tree represented Jesus’ victory over death on the cross and the eternal life made available to us by th King of Kings.

The Christmas tree is a beautiful reminder of why Jesus was born in the first place- to die for you and me. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might diet to sins and live for righteousness” (1 Peter 2:24). As we put up the Christmas tree in our homes, it can only deepen our joy if we remember His death at this time of His birth celebration. It is because He did for us that we can receive the eternal life represented by the evergreen boughs.

Have you ever noticed that the boughs of your tree extend out like the arms of Jesus stretched upon the cross as He offered His life to anyone who would come to Him in faith? And your Christmas tree is very definitely pointing toward heaven and, as Jesus did with His words and His actions, drawing our attention to the Father who loves us.

So when you stand before your Christmas tree, stand tall, as the tree does, and be a witness for Jesus. Let it direct your attention to the Father above. Fix your eyes on Jesus, then open your arms wide to touch others with His precious Spirit of love. Then you, too will be pointing people toward heaven- and to life beyond the power of death.

LIGHTS ON THE TREE……

As the story goes, a professor named Martin Luther was walking alone through the forest one December night in the early 1500’s . As he made his way home, the stars seemed to twinkle with an unusual brightness against the velvety blackness of th clear night sky. In fact, when he passed under the rustling branches of the evergreens, it seemed to him that miniature stars were dancing in the trees all around him.

It wasn’t the sudden gust of cold wind that took the professor’s breath away; it was the unexpected wave of worship that caused him to shiver. Luther was overwhelmed by the awesome beauty of God’s creation.

The legend goes on to tell how Luther chopped down a small fir tree and set it up in his family’s living area. He desperately wanted to somehow capture that moment in the starlit forest. Yet as he attempted to describe the beauty he had seen, words completely failed him.

Suddenly Luther had an idea. He went through his house and gathered up all the burning candles. One by one, he carefully placed then on the ranches of the tree, and the little fir in the middle of the Luther home began to dance with twinkling lights. The wise papa’s plan had worked! The Luther children’s eyes were suddenly opened to the meaning of Psalm 19:1: ” The heaven tell of the glory of God. The skies display his marvelous craftsmanship.”

How do the two write-ups connect each of us to our purpose in GOD?

PURPOSE

1.What thoughts and images would come to mind if you heard someone described as being very “purposeful”?

2.In a sentence or less, how would you summarize your purpose in life, and God’s purpose in your life?

3.Discuss how the following verses relate to the theme of purpose. Take a fresh look at each passage, searching especially for (a) God’s commands and standards to keep, (b) someone’s example to learn from, (c) a promise from God to believe, (d) a warning to heed, or (e) a challenge to face.

•   Psalms 31:14-15; 37:5-6; 57:2; 119:175; 138:8; 143:10
•   Proverbs 4:25-27; 16:8-9
•   Jeremiah 10:23
•   John 17:4; 19:30
•   Romans 8:28-30

4.What vital, fundamental principles can you see in these passages (principles which are consistent with other Scriptures you know)?

5.Finally, answer these questions, especially in light of what you’ve observed in the passages above: (a) What does God want me to understand most about Himself? (b) What does God want me to understand most about others? (c) What does God want me to understand most about myself? And in light of all this, what would He have me do?

Resources: The Adventure of Christmas and The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament, © 1993 by Questar Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.)

It is said that in the seventh century a zealous young English missionary was the first person to use the evergreen tree as a symbol of GOD. Winfrid, who would later become known as Saint Boniface, used the tree as an object lesson. He taught that each point on the triangular-shaped tree represented a different Person of the Holy Trinity- Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Legend has it that one day Winfrid came upon a group of men offering a sacrifice to an oak tree as an act of worship. So angered was he by this idolatry the Winfrid swung his ax and felled the oak tree with one mighty blow. According to the tale, a missionary proclaimed that the tiny new tree represented Jesus’ victory over death on the cross and the eternal life made available to us by th King of Kings.

The Christmas tree is a beautiful reminder of why Jesus was born in the first place- to die for you and me. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might diet to sins and live for righteousness” (1 Peter 2:24). As we put up the Christmas tree in our homes, it can only deepen our joy if we remember His death at this time of His birth celebration. It is because He did for us that we can receive the eternal life represented by the evergreen boughs.

Have you ever noticed that the boughs of your tree extend out like the arms of Jesus stretched upon the cross as He offered His life to anyone who would come to Him in faith? And your Christmas tree is very definitely pointing toward heaven and, as Jesus did with His words and His actions, drawing our attention to the Father who loves us.

So when you stand before your Christmas tree, stand tall, as the tree does, and be a witness for Jesus. Let it direct your attention to the Father above. Fix your eyes on Jesus, then open your arms wide to touch others with His precious Spirit of love. Then you, too will be pointing people toward heaven- and to life beyond the power of death.

LIGHTS ON THE TREE……

As the story goes, a professor named Martin Luther was walking alone through the forest one December night in the early 1500’s . As he made his way home, the stars seemed to twinkle with an unusual brightness against the velvety blackness of th clear night sky. In fact, when he passed under the rustling branches of the evergreens, it seemed to him that miniature stars were dancing in the trees all around him.

It wasn’t the sudden gust of cold wind that took the professor’s breath away; it was the unexpected wave of worship that caused him to shiver. Luther was overwhelmed by the awesome beauty of God’s creation.

The legend goes on to tell how Luther chopped down a small fir tree and set it up in his family’s living area. He desperately wanted to somehow capture that moment in the starlit forest. Yet as he attempted to describe the beauty he had seen, words completely failed him.

Suddenly Luther had an idea. He went through his house and gathered up all the burning candles. One by one, he carefully placed then on the ranches of the tree, and the little fir in the middle of the Luther home began to dance with twinkling lights. The wise papa’s plan had worked! The Luther children’s eyes were suddenly opened to the meaning of Psalm 19:1: ” The heaven tell of the glory of God. The skies display his marvelous craftsmanship.”

How do the two write-ups connect each of us to our purpose in GOD?

PURPOSE

1.What thoughts and images would come to mind if you heard someone described as being very “purposeful”?

2.In a sentence or less, how would you summarize your purpose in life, and God’s purpose in your life?

3.Discuss how the following verses relate to the theme of purpose. Take a fresh look at each passage, searching especially for (a) God’s commands and standards to keep, (b) someone’s example to learn from, (c) a promise from God to believe, (d) a warning to heed, or (e) a challenge to face.

•   Psalms 31:14-15; 37:5-6; 57:2; 119:175; 138:8; 143:10
•   Proverbs 4:25-27; 16:8-9
•   Jeremiah 10:23
•   John 17:4; 19:30
•   Romans 8:28-30

4.What vital, fundamental principles can you see in these passages (principles which are consistent with other Scriptures you know)?

5.Finally, answer these questions, especially in light of what you’ve observed in the passages above: (a) What does God want me to understand most about Himself? (b) What does God want me to understand most about others? (c) What does God want me to understand most about myself? And in light of all this, what would He have me do?

Resources: The Adventure of Christmas and The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament, © 1993 by Questar Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.)

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