We chose Rev 4 & 5 because its description of the eternal worship in heaven. We placed a manger baby figurine on the top to represent Christ (Rev. 4:2 – one who sat on the throne). Just below were four beanie babies representing the four living creature around the throne (Rev. 4:6-8). The next lower level were 24 Gold bulbs to represent the 24 elders (Rev. 4:4). Moving down another step – about 18” down the tree, were a bunch of clear bulbs to represent the glassy sea (Rev. 4:6). I made a whole bunch of angels and place them all over (Rev. 5:2).
We started early in the morning. After several trips to the craft store for supplies needed for our decorating scheme, we came to the juncture where we needed to populate heaven with the redeemed. It was 8:00 PM and this meant another run to the store.
This is when my 8 year old son lost it. “Why can’t we just decorate the tree like normal people?” he asked. Since we were all getting tired, we decided to abandon the Revelation decorating theme for the remaining 3 feet of the tree. The moment I said “OK” a completely chaotic ornament hanging fest started and ended less than 30 minutes later leaving every inch of the bottom three feet of the tree covered with everything from moving and musical ornaments to flashing lights and bows.
It’s hard to imagine what it looked like. Even at it’s best, our Christian Christmas tree looked peculiar to say the least. Adding to its strangeness, there was a clear demarcation where order crashed against packed clutter. From that demarcation, there was not one inch of any branch that was not loaded with Christmas cheer. Yes, the tree looked odd but with this story to tell.
During one appointed morning devotional, before any one in my family was awake, I mused at the symbology of top half of the tree. I was immediately awestruck at the glorious worship and started imagining myself in the middle of heaven’s throng of worshipers, hearing the four living beast crying out “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord Almighty, who was and is and is to come.” I imagined what it would look and sound like when the twenty four elders will reverently lay down their crowns and say “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.” I imagined myself on a hill looking up to the throne that spit lightning and thunder and a vast sea around it. I imagined the worship crescendo when thousands upon thousands of thousands of worshippers sang together in perfect unison, “You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation and have made us kings and priest to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.” Whew – talk about a time of worship!
But then it happened; the noise, motion and flashes of the bottom half of the tree caught my attention. There was a continuous, endless motion and flashing; each in its turn, oblivious to its surroundings. Worship was gone and now I became mesmerized by the business of the bottom of the tree. The distinct denotation separating the top of our tree from the bottom became a spiritual denotation as much as it was a decorating denotation. I realized the decorating duality allegorically represented a paradox in me; that of standing between heaven and earth.
I have periodic moments where I can say I am caught into heaven’s glory. Other times there is activity without eternal purpose, engrossingly busy, blindingly flashy and stifling noisy. Daily life’s charms easily consume my attention. When I am caught up in the seemingly designed distractions of the rush of the moment I forget the ultimate magnitude of Heaven’s glory and of my eternal destiny – to glorify God as heaven’s ambassador forever. It leads me to ask, “how can I do better; to attend my thoughts heavenward rather than being caught by the noisy, flashy and busy distractions of life?” I think, regularly asking this question itself is the key.
May the glory and majesty of the Savior be our consuming and primary focus as we celebrate His birth.