Just One Ornament
It makes me smile to see little children sitting in the seat of a shopping cart.
On a particularly long day of running errands, I often think that is the way to shop.
A front row seat is theirs.
They can hold special things in their hands and hand them to the cashier at the register.
I smile because I remember those days.
I remember the days of one child in the seat and another inside the shopping cart.
The one inside the shopping cart used to love when things were piled in around their legs.
There would be giggles all around, which made for a wonderful shopping trip.
The little boy I saw was enjoying every minute of this shopping trip with his mother.
I was in the Christmas decorating section looking for a garland of berries.
I had some many years ago, but cannot seem to find any this year.
Our house is already decorated but this was for a small tree outside our front door.
I had to keep passing this mother and her little boy since we were both on the same aisle.
I was going up and down the aisle not finding what I was looking for.
I found a beaded garland that was subdued and looked like cranberries.
That would have to do.
The little boy was being so sweet and patient.
I’m going to let you down now so you can pick one ornament, his mother said.
Just one ornament, she said as she lifted him out of the shopping cart.
Is that a deal? She asked expecting an answer.
Deal! The little boy said excitedly.
Follow me, Mommy, he said as he walked around bins and bins of ornaments.
Of course, I’ll follow you, sweetheart. I’m right behind you, his mother assured him.
She was right behind him as he meandered around all the bins and shelves.
I wish I could have seen which ornament he chose.
I had a feeling it was going to take a while.
I had a few other things to do in the store.
I walked away.
I walked away, but not before I had seen the vast selection of ornaments.
There were Christmas balls of all shapes and sizes.
There were figures that are known through movies and cartoons.
There were animals, and the usual choices of Santa, elves, snowmen, and reindeer.
It was what was missing that caught my eye.
It was what was missing that made my heart sad.
Up and down the aisles was anything you could possibly want for a secular Christmas.
Up and down the aisles was everything but Jesus.
I am sure the little boy will choose something cute.
He was looking at the animal ornaments when I left the aisle.
I have some ornaments like that on my tree as well.
However, the choice was simply not balanced.
The choices did not reflect the reason we celebrate Christmas.
You would never know from walking the aisles that Christmas had anything to do with Christ.
There were no mangers, no wise men, and no shepherds.
There was not a Mary or Joseph to be found.
Jesus was absent from the selection.
Jesus was not one of the choices.
Jesus was not on the list of items the buyer ordered to stock the shelves.
Perhaps it was simply the store I was in at the time, but Jesus was missing.
I felt sad for the little boy or any child that was given the opportunity to choose one ornament.
It was not a complete selection.
It was missing the most important part.
It was missing the One for whom we celebrate Christmas in the first place.
Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree. (Galatians 3:13)
The cross was often referred to as a tree.
It was a horrible thing to be hung on a cross.
It was a curse for the guilty.
It was punishment of death.
Except the One who hung on the tree for you and for me was not guilty.
The One who hung on the tree was innocent.
The Holy One, the Son of God, hung there and received the punishment that was for us.
The death that He died was the death that we should have died.
We were the cursed ones who should be hung on the tree.
Jesus hung on the tree in our place.
He hung there, doing a grotesque crucifixion dance just so He could take a breath.
He, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God hung on the tree as a curse in our place.
Who would want something like that hung on their tree?
He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
No one wanted that ornament.
Yet, Jesus, hung on the tree so we could be saved.
When we look up at that tree and beleive that Jesus died the death we deserve, we are healed.
The punishment that He did not deserve should have gone to us who did deserve it.
Jesus was born to die.
The entire Christmas story must be told.
It captures the heart of young and old alike; those called by God to hear and believe.
In the store, Jesus was not an option but to us who believe He is the reason we celebrate.
The world’s tree has no room for Jesus.
The tree that held Him, the Roman cross, had room.
We look up at the One who died in our place and believe so that we can be saved.
Jesus is not an ornament of adornment; He is an Ornament to Adore.