Advent 11 - Family

Christmas is family. Sometimes at Christmas one of the best examples of family can be found in the ornaments on a Christmas tree. Much like a fridge covered in drawings, events, or calendars, the ornaments on a Christmas tree can give you a pretty clear picture of a family.

The different ornaments can be anything. I hear there is even a tradition of finding a pickle? And they can represent so much. Some are children’s crafts, or mementos from family vacations. Some are heirlooms passed down from generation to generation. Some of my family’s most prized possessions get hung on a tree for a month and then return to the attic for safe keeping. 

In John’s Gospel, Jesus tells Nicodemus about a strange tree with strange ornaments. He says that the Son of Man (that’s Jesus) will be lifted up like Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness. Weird right? Of course if you look in Numbers 21:9 you’ll hear about this strange scene. The family of Israel is having a huge fight. People are turning on God and each other. Snakes are biting people and poisoning them and they are dying. The whole thing is a mess until Moses hangs this bronze snake on a stick. Everyone who looks at it is healed! This weird ornament on a very thin tree saves everyone and gets them back on track.

Jesus tells Nic that he will also play the role of ornament. The cross will be the tree and everyone who looks towards him will find healing. They will overcome their poisoned lives, their disagreements, their broken hearts, and find healing. I hope your Christmas tree can do that for your family too, as you appreciate the ornaments that tell the story of your family.

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