You know, Christmas trees are a big part of American Christmas traditions. Their origin began long ago in Germany. There is even a great Christmas song reflecting that, “O Tannenbaum.”

There are some famous trees in America like the gigantic 100 plus foot tree in Rockefeller Center in New York City with its 50,000 LED lights and the White House Christmas tree. Here in America, people decorate trees in all sizes and even adorn outside trees as well. You can even see little wild cedar trees along the highways decorated for Christmas by thoughtful folks.

And of course there are real trees and many tree farms and some retailers sell them. And then there is the growing popularity of artificial trees. You can decorate trees just about any old way you like and any theme you would like. Our Albia Chamber of Commerce has some beautiful trees.

In my youth, my dad used to go out to his childhood birthplace and find and cut down a tree for us. One, in particular was a beauty. But it was so big, he couldn’t get it up the hill or in the trunk.

I did the same when I bought a tree that was so beautiful and big, we couldn’t get it in the door so I donated it to the Albia Open Bible Church for their Christmas pageant. Our Methodist Church had Chrismon trees which were adorned with Christian symbols. They were special.

Some of the trees my folks would cut in my youth were a little thin in spots or brown. Those areas went to the corner in our parlor by the big open staircase. My mom could spray a little canned snow on the brown which worked wonders. As my folks grew older, they finally went to big artificial trees. And then much older, nineties, to small fiber optic trees or prelit ones. Finally, they went to beautiful ornamental trees from the Bradford Exchange. Some years we even had a Snoopy tree to go with our main tree. It was very special. In my grandmother’s last years, she had one of those retro silver trees where the light wheel changed the colors.

I think I could write several columns on tree memories and fun and laughter and decorations and, oh yes, the wonderful smell. I know many of you have wonderful remembrances, too.

But there is one really common thread that exists I want to hone in on today. It is the lights that go on most trees and, of course, they can be any color or style. I once had a beautiful real Fraser Fir decorated in red poinsettia and cardinal lights. But lights are almost always a part of any Christmas tree.

In the early days in Germany and American traditions, they actually used real wax candles or small lanterns. How they avoided fires in every home amazes me. Electricity changed all of that. But why lights at all? Sure, they are pretty but it’s more than that. As we celebrate Christmas, we are reminded that Jesus is the Light if the world. He lights the way for us and gives us hope. John 8:12 and Matthew 4:16.

In a world of so much darkness and with problems and challenges of all kinds that people face, He shines His light on our lives and in our hearts. To me, it isn’t much different than looking up in a clear winter sky and seeing the stars shining ever so brightly. I realize that God created all of them and in the majesty of His immense creation, He still has time for me and cares for me.

When you look at the beautiful lights this Christmas in your tree or anywhere, admire their beauty but think of why they are such an integral part of the season. Jesus is light and life to all. Do you know Him? Do you love Him? Is He your Savior and Lord. If not, come to Him or back to Him and let Him drive your darkness away and bring light into your life and the hope and fulfillment only He can bring.

And as I close today, quick reminder in Christmas Eve from 5-6 p.m. on 96.7 KIIC, I will bring you the My Hope Christmas Program special. You won’t want to miss it if at all possible. More on that next week. Love to all and God bless.

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