The Nativitree

December 16, 2009

We’ve now been married 11 (eleven?!) years, and we still use this Nativitree every year. Two changes: it now has a string of colored rope lights instead of white, and we set it on the front porch instead of in the living room so it’s visible from the street. And since that time, we bought a 32-inch high fiber optic tree that I stand on a side table and decorate with Christmas earrings. Works for us. But this tree is my favorite.

Notice the symbols, visible in daytime.

Notice the tree shape, representing the Trinity, visible at night.

Gary and I have been married five years now, and have never put up a Christmas tree. For some reason, I couldn’t bring myself to use the decorations that had adorned the lives of his family when the children were growing up. It just didn’t feel quite right; those weren’t my traditions. We used the nativity set that he’d stored in the attic instead. It showed the real meaning of Christmas; we just laid our gifts at the base of the table where the Christ child rested in His miniature manger.

Early this December, I was challenged by a sermon in which the pastor admonished us not to bring all of the world’s holiday traditions into our homes without displaying to the world the tree that mattered – the cross of Christ – that we have in our hearts. He encouraged us not to bury that tree under the holiday decor and mounds of materialism. As I drove home, the Nativitree grew in my mind’s eye.

Gary was thrilled to help me with the project. He cut a five-foot vertical and a thirty inch piece for the crossbeam from a 1 x 6 board. I painted the vertical bright red to represent the blood of Christ, whom God sent from heaven to pay for our sin. The horizontal I painted hunter green, representing new life and hope that we can now extend to others through what Christ has done for us. He also made a stand for the tree. It is green as well, symbolizing that life is found at the foot of the cross.

My mother is a talented artist, and like me, could probably describe herself as “hyperactively creative.” I can’t draw a stick, but suggested to her the idea of using symbols on the tree to represent the gifts and promises that are ours through Christ (The designs are not original with us, but borrowed from church tradition.) These are truly Christmas gifts: His incarnation, fellowship with God and His children, humility, the Holy Spirit, the bread of life, the living water, the blood of His new covenant, His promises and their fulfillment in the Old and New Testaments, Christ as shepherd-king and King of kings.

After the tree was assembled, we installed cup hooks in strategic places and used an eighteen foot rope light in two triangular sections, representing the Trinity. The cross itself represents the second person, the Son. The top triangle suggests the Father, and the one touching “earth,” the Holy Spirit, who is our Helper. We stood it in the corner of the living room and were astounded with the results. As you will note in the pictures, when the house lights are off, the center of the cross glows red, reminding us that the heart of the Gospel is the precious blood that made it possible for us to relate to God. Jesus knew about the cross before He ever made His way into the manger.

Now we have a new tradition, and our Nativitree will annually remind us of the reason we celebrate. Merry Christmas!

 Jenny Evans
Christmas, 2003


One Response to “The Nativitree”

  1. Judy Says:

    Wow, Jenny, I am enjoying reading different letters that you have written. You write so beautifully about this tree and about the snow day. Thank you, my precious friend, who helps uplift me by your written words to higher moments. Thank you, my dear one. God bless our Jenny and Gary and shower them with every conceivable blessing for your glory. Love, Judy

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