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Joy of Christmas worth a few risks

My family always put up a Christmas tree for the holidays. It is a tradition that has been handed down for many generations. In the early days, this tradition seems to have been a very dangerous practice. Although they did not bring the Christmas tree into the house until right at Christmas time there was still the danger of fire as the tree dried out. Imagine the explosive possibilities. Houses were warmed with a wood stove or fireplace, creating very dry air. The tree tries to soak up the water from the pan, but soon succumbs to death itself. The light in the house was from kerosene lanterns or open flame candles. Then, someone got the bright idea to represent the light of Christmas by putting candles on the tree. Over the years this was replaced with those big, colored, hot electric bulbs. I wonder how many fires over the years were caused by a Christmas tree.

People make sacrifices and take risks in order to bring a spirit of Christmas into their homes. Despite the risks, the tradition continues. Today, the danger is not as great as it was, but still we need to be careful. Celebrating Christmas takes some effort and planning and maybe even some risks. This is true of our walk with the Christ of Christmas. Mary risked rejection and scorn, Joseph risked misunderstanding and ruining his reputation, the shepherds risked losing their flocks to predators as they left them to see the Christ child, the Magi risked their position in their home country as they ventured on their long journey east, and the list goes on.

Later John the Baptist risked his ministry by proclaiming that Jesus was the one they should follow. He said, "He must increase, I must decrease." Later still, he risked his head when he would not compromise his stand on adultery before a wicked king. All the way to this present day, people are risking their lives in one way or another to bring to others the true Light of Christmas, Jesus. I know you have probably sacrificed something this Christmas time in order to celebrate the season. You have sacrificed your time to shop for a gift for someone. You have sacrificed your hard-earned finances. You have given your energies so that others will have the joy of the season. Just be careful; don't get so carried away that you burn the tree down, yet don't be afraid to take the risks for the sake of spreading the good news of Jesus.

The best Christmas trees take some grooming. Those that are allowed to just grow up naturally will invariably have one side more full then the other or some branches not spaced evenly. Take the time to bring your Christmas tree (bring the true Spirit of Christmas) into your house. Take the time to groom it, make it presentable and let the fragrance of the real thing fill the house. Take the risk, make the sacrifice, decorate the tree, make it the focal point, lay the gifts at its feet and use it to remember the true life of Christmas that will never die. Take the risk of presenting the Lord of Glory this Christmas.