Pastor Dan Smyth
Every year when my boys were young, the three of us would spend a day traveling to a Christmas Tree Farm and picking out the PERFECT TREE to display the LIGHT OF THE WORLD. It became a FAMILY TRADITION.
I will never forget one day in particular. It started out as the typical - FUN DAY - cool autumn temperature and plenty of bright Carolina sunshine. There were HAYRIDES, HOT CHOCOLATE and FUN GAMES. But the most important time was when we - PICKED OUT THE PERFECT TREE.
"Here's one, Daddy" - one would say, pointing to an evergreen. "No, not that one" - his brother would replay, "It's too small." Over Hill, Over Dale - whatever that means - we covered a lot of acreage - UNTIL - the perfect tree was spotted. "Here it is." I would announce - "Just the right height, shape and type of evergreen." Then, Dad the preacher, would begin the CHRISTMAS LESSON - Explaining the symbols of the Season - with every slide of the saw while each of us were taking turns cutting down the Perfect Christmas Tree. IT WAS A HANGING OF THE GREENS TIME OUT ON THE FARM.
By the end of the day, it was time to get the tree into the house and set it in place to display it just right. BUT THIS YEAR - something was terribly wrong - there was no good side. "This isn't the same tree we picked out," I fumed. It was the right tree, but it was - NTO RIGHT - the tree looked like a CHARLIE BROWN TREE - in a word - IT WAS UGLY! Somehow, some way, in the excitement of the day, we had picked out an UGLY TREE.
UGLY TREES DISPLAY THE MESSINESS IN THE WORLD
THIS IS THE YEAR FOR AN UGLY TREE
This is a year we all have - never experienced before - A Global Pandemic - sparked by a coronavirus - that continues to spread its deadly pathogens. No other year has so many of us lost so much - our lives, our livelihoods and our lifestyles. This year will be a COVID CHRISTMAS as the virus continues to spread.
Our Family Celebrations, our Church Services and our Annual Traditions will all be affected - as we WORK TOGETHER for - a coronavirus-free future for us all - all around the WORLD - a world GOD LOVES DEARLY.
THE CROSS OF CHRIST WAS
THE FIRST UGLY CHRISTMAS TREE
God turned the ROMAN TORTURE TREE into a symbol of PEACE WITH GOD AND WITH ONE ANOTHER. Crucifixion - intended to be a gruesome spectacle - was the most painful and humiliating death imaginable. JESUS TOOK THAT UGLINESS AND MADE SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL.
"The purpose (of Jesus) was to CREATE IN HIM one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body of reconcile both of them to God THROUGH THE CROSS, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace ot you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For Through Him We Both Have Access To The Father By One Spirit." Ephesians 2:15-18 (VOICE)
During this COVID CHRISTMAS let's - remember the cross and spread God's Peace -
WORKING TOGETHER to help make a coronavirus-free world.
See you in Church,