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"Christmas Trees Don't Last Forever"

Read Matthew 3:7-12.
Even now the axe is laid at the root of the trees. Every tree
therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown
into the fire. Matthew 3:10

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 when He was conceived of the Virgin Mary. 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.

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.

(Lutheran Hour Ministries)

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