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As I'm getting older, I find that I like some of the icons of the Christmas season that I once rejected. In the past, decorations and traditions seemed a bit sacrilegious to me. I thought that if I had a picture of Santa Claus in my home or if we went overboard decorating, we'd be missing the real meaning of Christmas. And I suppose that if those things were the final destination I'd have been right. 

Today when I see a Christmas tree, I am reminded that the first Adam took the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil from his wife and sinned against a holy God (Gen 3:6), but that the second Adam, took the fruit of that sin and bleed and died on another tree to pay the price of that sin. When I smell the scent of the evergreen, I'm reminded that the new life I enjoy because of what Jesus did on the cross gives me everlasting life (John 3:16).

The ornaments hanging on the tree also remind me of what Jesus has done for me. When I see the red ones, I think about the blood of Jesus that He shed for my salvation. The silver and gold remind me of God's blessings in my life and the candy cane reminds me that Jesus is the Good Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4). The white stripes remind me that Jesus was sinless (2 Cor. 5:21). The red stripes that he shed His blood for me (Eph 1:7). Both colors of stripes remind me that my spiritual healing comes only through His stripes (Isa 53:5). The angel on the top reminds me of my responsibility to tell the world that Jesus has come, just as the angel of old did (Luke 2:10).

When I see a Santa Claus, I don't think about the commercialism of Christmas, I think of St. Nicholas, the fourth Century Bishop who was legendary for his kindness and generosity. 

All of these symbols are just that-symbols. They are not intended to be our final destination, they are just signs.

At our trip to the Grand Canyon this summer, we took time to pose for a family picture by the entrance sign. Why? We wanted to remember our trip, and standing by the sign seemed like a good token of the trip. Now we went beyond the grand entrance into the park and looked at the Grand Canyon-the sign wasn't our final destination, it just pointed the way to where we were going. 

This Christmas, I pray that all the icons of Christmas will point you in the right direction and not be your final destination. 

Luke 2:10 NASB "And the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people;'"

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Impact Preaching: A Case for the
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