Mid-week Pastor’s update 12-22-2021

Anaheim SDA Church

Mid-week Pastor’s Update

December 22nd, 2021

“[He who
follows in the precepts of the Lord] is like a tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers. Psalms 1:2-3

Earlier this week, while driving past a shopping plaza, I saw a Christmas tree lot, still about half-full with Christmas trees. “I wonder how many of those will sell in this last week before Christmas?” I thought. “And do they discount them more and more deeply each day until Christmas?”

I’ve heard some say that we should have nothing to do with Christmas trees, that they are of ‘pagan origins’. But I’ve heard a story from Reformation history that is much cheerier.

Martin Luther, the German monk who in the 16th century broke away from the church of Rome, suffered greatly. Being summoned to various counsels, being criticized and spied on, with threat of kidnapping…

But Martin Luther recounts in his journal traveling between one town and another on a winter night. As he looked up, he saw the trees above him, with the stars behind them, twinkling as he moved under them. He thought this very beautiful and comforting, and glorified God for sharing this with him in the midst of his angst.

We, too, through any anxieties, perplexities, struggles, can “look up” to God to receive comfort and solace. 1st Peter 5:7 says “Cast your burdens on Him, for He cares for you”. What a sweet thing, yes?, that Jesus has come to walk the hard road, and become our sympathetic high priest, and to give us mercy & grace in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)

It is said that Martin Luther originated putting lights in Christmas trees to remember that symbol of God’s love & comfort. Of course, at the time, they used little candles, very dangerous in a flammable tree! But we have a safer way to do it now. 🙂

He also said “The candles remind us of the star that led Wise Men to the Christ child.”

I pray that you and your families feel God’s love & provision, particularly over this Christmas time. Let us remember to depend on him for all we need.

Sincerely,

Pr. Mark Tatum

P.S.: To read more of the history of Christmas trees, including Martin Luther’s contribution of putting lights in them, see https://www.history.com/topics/christmas/history-of-christmas-trees and https://www.premierchristianity.com/home/martin-luther-loved-christmas-he-might-even-have-popularised-having-a-christmas-tree/875.article

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