We went and bought our Christmas tree; we looked and looked and looked
Before we found the perfect one, shaped just the way we like.
We checked it very carefully. We wanted it just right.
We paid a price, we paid too much! But what a special tree!
We took it home to decorate. We strung the lights just so.
We added tinsel, ribbons, too, an angel for the top.
We pulled out all the ornaments that we have used for years –
Each one holds a memory of someone we hold dear.
We hung them all, then rearranged to make sure each was placed
To catch the light, or to be safe from crawling tots so small.
And then, beneath its laden boughs, we placed our presents gay.
Our Christmas tree, how beautiful; oh, what a lovely sight!
They went to get a tree that day; they looked and looked and looked,
It had to be the perfect size; it had a weight to bear.
He dragged it through the streets that day; the people cheered and jeered.
He stumbled; then they cried once more. He could not carry on.
They stuck that tree into a hole dug deeply in the earth.
It stood amid two others there atop that lonely hill.
But this one tree which bore a load of God and man in One
Had just a single sign that read: “King of the Jews, He said.”
The Man upon this dreadful tree was hanging there for me –
He bore the pain that I had earned–His sinless life for mine.
So when I see a Christmas tree decked out in red and gold
Within that tree I see one more –a tree at Calvary.
No ornaments adorned that tree; no presents at its foot.
Only those who came to jeer, and some to mourn knelt there.
It did not wear red ribbons, only stains from his shed blood.
And gold was not the color of the crown He wore that day.
Two Christmas trees—this tree and that. One stood long ago
When Love paid such a price for us, and one shines out tonight.
Two trees; one speaks to us of love from family and friends;
The other one enables us to praise God’s Holy name.
When this season has passed by we’ll take the one tree down
And throw it out upon the pile or haul it to the dump.
We’ll pack the decorations up and store them all away.
Then when another year comes round we’ll pull them out again.
That other tree, that Calv’ry tree, can speak of love all year,
Of love that we can give away to touch the lives of those
Who cross our paths, who need God’s grace to make it through the day.
And Christmas will live in our hearts and glorify the King.
Sara Powell of Hartwell, Ga., is a member of the BaptistCenter for Ethics board.