Read Matthew 3:7-12
The cut Christmas trees we got when I was a kid sure didn’t last long. Mom always tried to stretch them until Epiphany, January 6, but the tree didn’t always make it that long. And each day it became more of a fire hazard. We’d watch our cut tree dry up, drop its needles, turn brown and die-all because it had been cut off from its roots.
Each of us is like a cut Christmas tree. From the moment we’re born we begin the gradual process of dying. But that is not the way God created us. God made our first parents Adam and Eve sinless and pure and placed them in the Garden of Eden. When they listened to the words of the serpent and ate the forbidden fruit, God cut them off from the Garden and barred their way to the tree of life. Like a tree cut off from its roots, we-along with all of Adam and Eve’s other children-creep steadily closer each day to the day of our death.
But God did not leave us alone in our sin. While Adam and Eve were still in the Garden, even before God drove them out, He promised them a Savior, who would be the Seed of the woman. He would crush the serpent’s head on the cross, and through His resurrection would swallow up the death that came to us all in the Garden.
That Seed was Jesus Christ, God’s own Son who became one of us. Even though He was without sin, Jesus fully paid the price for all our sins. He was cut off. He was crucified and died on that cross. He washed us free of our sin in Baptism, and He has restored eternal life to us. Through His Word and His body and blood in Holy Communion He empowers us to do good works just the same way a tree bears good fruit when it is firmly attached to its roots.
John warned us against being overly confident in ourselves. It is humility and sincerity that make us approachable to others. As we share the love of God with others this Christmas season, remember to offer more than a “Merry Christmas!” Offer to give yourself as you follow the example of Christ’s sacrifice for us.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, You became one of us, that through Your suffering and death, You might crush the Serpent’s head. Receive our praise and thanks and enable us to bear fruits that reflect Your love. We pray this in Your Name. Amen.