Refreshment in Refuge
by Gina Burgess
In your living room or somewhere in your house there may be a green tree standing tall and draped with beautiful, tinkling jewels of light and gaiety. Today there is an ongoing argument whether it should be called a Christmas tree or a Holiday tree. Most Christians realize holiday is a derivative of holy day, therefore there is no real difference between the two if we get down to the brass tacks of the matter. In fact, if we want to be extremely technical, the expression “happy holidays” describes the season better than “Merry Christmas” because Satan has tried to cross out Christ in Christmas with the cross as in Xmas. Frankly, no matter what Satan does, he always fails. The mere fact green trees abound during this season silently points to Christ.
For if they do these things in the green tree, what may take place in the dry? Luke 23:31 Jesus said this on His way to the cross. He called Himself the green tree. I find that fascinating.
It is a Jewish expression comparing a good man to a green tree, and a bad man to a dry or dead tree. The green tree bears fruit, gives shade, and is useful for so many things. It is not useful however to make a fire. Have you ever tried to start a fire with green wood? But, the dry wood burns up the green wood, just as our sin consumed Jesus’ body.
Green tree, green fir, an apple tree, nourishing root, Tree of Life have all described Jesus throughout scripture. The green tree is full of nourishing sap just as Jesus is full of wonderful goodness, kindness, peace, joy, long sufferance, and forgiveness: The things that He bestows upon us when we take Him into our hearts. As a green tree, He flourished and caused great benefits upon the Jewish people such as healing the sick, the lame to walk, the dead to rise alive again. All these things were spoken by the prophets about the Messiah. Green wood is not fit for fuel for fire. He did nothing worthy of death. He was everything fruitful and useful, and was the good tidings of great joy for the whole earth. He did not deserve death.
I have heard that Jews reject Jesus as the Messiah because He did die on the cross which means He died a sinner’s death, which must mean He was sinful. He literally did take on all the sins of the world, but He was not sinful.
The sins of the world dried up His body, just as a green tree dries up when cut away from its root. Although, a green tree will stay green for a time after its nourishment is removed especially when we give it life giving water for that time it decorates our homes giving off a wondrous fragrance, reminding us of all God's creation that He called 'Good'.
We decorate the tree with all things beautiful, with things that bring us good memories, and with glitter and sparkling gold or silver, and it gives us the fragrance of frankincense and myrrh which is dried balsam sap, and sap from the myrrh bush. Gifts brought to the baby Jesus that were prophetic of Himself. Gold was property of kings. Frankincense and myrrh which only the rich could have used in the mummification process of their dead.
There comes a time, though, when the tree must be removed from our home. It goes the way of most dead things, discarded as so much trash. Like a dead and withered tree is cast on the fire, so Jesus did to our sins. He came first to the Jews, but He died for all mankind.
The green tree is our reminder as Jeremiah spoke the words of our LORD, Jeremiah 17:7-8 Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, And whose hope is the LORD. 8 For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.
And reminds us of Ezekiel and Hosea’s words: Ezekiel 17:24 And all the trees of the field shall know that I, Jehovah, have brought down the high tree. And have exalted the low tree, and have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree flourish. I, Jehovah, have spoken and acted.
Hosea 14:8 Ephraim shall say, ‘What is it to me any more with idols?’ I answered him, and I regarded him. I am as a green cypress tree; your fruit is found from Me.
Therefore, when you gaze upon your brightly decorated green tree this holy season, remember God designed it all for your benefit. He knew before the foundation of the world the Son would willingly bear the sin of the world so that while we were yet sinners, He loved us and died for us. In that green tree is the symbol of what Jesus did for us so long ago. Even though He withered and died, He was raised alive; He is forever green.
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She is the author of several books including: When Christians Hurt Christians, The Crowns of the Believers and others available in online bookstores. She authors several columns, using her God-given talent to shine a light in a dark world. You can browse her blog at Refreshment In Refuge.
If you'd like to take a look at some Christian fiction and Christian non-fiction book reviews before the books hit the book store shelves, check out Gina's book reviews at Upon Reflection
Gina is a partner and COO of Common Sense Marketing Strategies, LLC that owns Authors Community and eBookChristian.com
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