For several years we didn’t put up a Christmas tree in our house. Christmas trees seem like an unspoken promise of Christmas gifts and funds were very tight. It seemed almost cruel to put up a tree knowing I couldn’t put anything under it. The little bit I tried to save each year for Christmas got eaten up by medical bills and car repairs. Thankfully our son had outgrown Santa and I tried to lessen the blow by telling him the honest truth, Mom and Dad simply couldn’t afford to buy Christmas presents. One year things looked a little more promising. There might be something left for presents after all. I started digging our four-foot tree and the tub of decorations out of storage. The little tree was mashed and mangled but I figured, like Charlie Brown’s tree it would come to life with a few ornaments and lights. Except the mice had chewed through the wires on the Christmas lights and most of the ornaments were broken. But saddest of all to me was my favorite gold star ornament, the one that was so shiny that it caught the glow of the nearest light and bounced it back into the room. My gold star was badly tarnished. It couldn’t reflect anything anymore. I put it in the box with the other broken things and carried them all out to the trash. I put the few remaining ornaments on the tree. It wouldn’t make the cover of a magazine, but it was the best I could do.
All the bright and shiny things in this world will grow faint, but the true glory of Christmas will never fade or tarnish, because Jesus is the Glory of Christmas. He is “the radiance of God’s glory,” therefore His light will never go dim. The root meaning of the Greek word for “radiance” means daylight, specifically, the dawn, when the sun breaks through the darkness of night and shines so that all men can see. The biblical writer John said, “In Him was life and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:4-5). The Glory of God came into this dark world as a tiny baby with an inextinguishable Light. Even death could not put out the Light of the World. Beloved, look past the lights and glitter of your tree and behold the Glory of Christmas.