It's More Than a Christmas Tree

By Kevin Wolfe,

Every year a team of servants works diligently to decorate our building for the Christmas season.  And while they do a wonderful job making our building look beautiful, their efforts go beyond that.  In fact, everything on the Christmas tree we put up each year is done to represent Jesus.  Below are the ornaments on the tree and what they represent from scripture.  Take a few minutes to read through these and let that fuel you to worship Jesus!

  • Alpha and Omega - Alpha and Omega (Revelation 22:13) - Jesus was and is and is to come. He is from everlasting to ever- lasting. 
  • Angel - The angel of the Lord (Exodus 3:2) - Many scholars believe this was the Old Testament appearance of Jesus.
  • Bible - The Word (John 1:1) - Jesus is the speech uttered by God the Father, impelled by the breath of God’s Spirit. He is not merely information, but the effective, powerful Word that called creation out of nothing and today calls life out of death.
  • Christmas Lights - The light of the World (Isaiah 9:1-5; John 8:12) - Jesus is the light that pierced the darkness of the world 2000 years ago and showed the path to God. Those who follow Him will not walk in darkness.
  • Cross - Redeemer (Isaiah 60:16b; Isaiah 48:17) - Christ’s death is the payment that redeems us from Satan and makes it possible for us to be called children of God. Jesus was born on earth to die on the cross.
  • Crown/Gold Ornaments - King of Kings (Revelation 19:16) - Christ is the king over all kings and rulers. As subjects in His Kingdom, we owe Him our complete allegiance.
  • Door - Door (John 10:1-9) - Jesus is our only door to God. He is the only way to heaven.
  • Dove - He is our Peace (Isaiah 9:6) - Christ is our peace. He has ended the conflict between God and man by His death on the cross.
  • Gavel - Righteous Judge (Psalm 75:7; Psalm50:6) - Jesus is our judge and advocate before God Most High.
  • Globe - Creator (Hebrews 1:10-12) - “God as our Creator delights in being trusted by us as his creatures, for an attitude of dependence is most appropriate to the Creator/creature relationship” (Wayne Grudem)
  • Gold Rays - God’s radiance (Hebrews 1:3) - Jesus is image of God and the radiance of His glory.
  • Lamb - Lamb of God (John 1:29; Revelation 5:6-14) - Jesus is the fulfillment of the sacrificial system of the Old Testament. As the Lamb of God, Jesus’ sacrifice pays for our sins, past, present, and future if we believe in Him.
  • Lion - Lion of Judah (Revelation 5:5) - Jesus fulfills the Old Testament prophecies, being from the tribe of Judah and the lineage of David.
  • Manger - Immanuel “God with us” (Isaiah 7:14-8:8; Matthew 1:23) - Jesus was God born on earth as a human being. Today He sits at the right hand of the Father having made the way for mere humans like us to draw near to God.
  • Mirror - The God who sees (Genesis 16:13) - There is nothing that is hidden from the Lord.
  • Pitcher - Servant of all (John 13:3-17; Mark 10:45) - Jesus did not come to enjoy a life of kingship over the world. He came not to be served as a King but to serve. Just as God humbled Himself, we are to follow in His example.
  • Priest - Great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14) - The Old Testament high priest interceded to God on behalf of the people. Jesus is now the one who intercedes for us with the power of His own blood shed for us.
  • Purple Ornaments - Majesty (Psalm 93:1; Psalm 96:6) - Purple is the color of royalty and Jesus is more majestic than any other.
  • Ram Tapestry - The Lord will provide (Genesis 22:14) - Though our sin requires death, Jesus is God’s provided substitute for us.
  • Red Ornaments - Blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:18-19; Ephesians 2:12-13) - We were once excluded from the citizenship of heaven but the perfect, spotless blood of Christ brought us near.
  • Rings - Bridegroom (Ephesians 5:21-32; John 3:29) - Jesus is the bridegroom and His church is the bride. He is the head of the church and gave up His life for her.
  • Rock - Chief Cornerstone (Isaiah 28:16; 1 Peter 2:6) - Jesus is the cornerstone which the religious leaders rejected, but which God chose to build His church upon.  We are a temple of living stones, built upon the solid rock of Jesus.
  • Root - Root of David (Revelation 5:5) - Jesus was both a descendant of David, and the root from which the nation of Israel grew.
  • Scepter - The Lord is my Banner (Exodus 17:10- 16) - In battle, armies of the Old Testament would hold up the Kings scepter or a banner proclaiming their king. Jesus is our banner, the scepter of God Most High.
  • Serpent on the Staff - The God who heals (Numbers 21:9; John3:14-15) - Just as the snake on the staff showed the Israelites the consequences for their sin, Jesus shows us the consequence of our sin. All who look to his sacrifice will have everlasting life.
  • Shepherd’s Staff - Shepherd (Psalm 23; John 10:11-14) - Jesus came to care for and to lead lost sheep, lost men and women. His sheep know His voice and no one can take them from his hands.
  • Snowflake - The Lord who sanctifies (Psalm 51:7; Isaiah 1:18) - To sanctify means to make holy. Jesus blood washed our sins so that we are white as snow. As believers He continues to make us holy from the inside out. What He starts, He will finish.
  • Stars - Bright Morning Star (Revelation 22:16) - The morning star heralds the end of night. Jesus heralded God’s coming victory over all evil.
  • Sword - Lord of hosts (Psalm 46) - Jesus is our Warrior King and will fight for those who are needy.
  • Tear - Comforter (2 Corinthians 1:3-5) Jesus comforts us with understanding for He was a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.
  • Tree Branch - Righteous Branch (Jeremiah 33:14-16) - Jesus is the descendent of David who fulfills God’s promise to Israel of a Messiah.
  • Vine/Grapes - Vine (John 15:1; John 15:15) - Jesus is our life source. It is in Him that we live and move and have our being.
  • Wheat - Bread of Life (John 6:32-33, 47-48) - Jesus is our spiritual nourishment. Without this food, we die. (Psalm 73:27-28)
  • White Horse - Faithful and True (Revelation 19:11) - Christ is Truth in the flesh. What He promises, He will do. We can trust His word.

Looking Deeper into a Famous Christmas Prophecy

By Jason McConahy,

In this weekend’s sermon, Kevin took us through some prophecies in the book of Isaiah, showing how they were fulfilled in the birth of Christ, so that we would be drawn to worship the glory of our Savior this Christmas.  As a result, he took us through the nature of prophecy in the Bible - the pattern of promise and fulfillment.  He spoke of the various “horizons” of fulfillment, what he meant by this is that many prophecies are fulfilled on a few different levels and at different times in redemptive history.  Given the fact that the old covenant was meant to point forward to, and then give way to, the new covenant in Christ, much of the prophecy of the Old Testament has two or three levels of fulfillment: (1) a near-term fulfillment in the context of the time of the prophecy, (2) a fulfillment in the first coming of Jesus, and (3) a final fulfillment in the second coming of Christ and the eternal kingdom.  

This weekend Kevin referred to the familiar Christmas prophecy in Isaiah 7:10-16:

“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign; Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” (vs. 14)  

As we know, this amazing prophecy has supernatural and wonderful fulfillment in the birth of Christ, which is the second level (or horizon) of fulfillment for this famous Old Testament prophecy.  But there was an immediate fulfillment back in Isaiah’s day that we often miss.  This prophecy was given to king Ahaz of Judah who was fearing the invasion of two kings (Damascus and Samaria).  Another part of the prophecy is that “before the boy will know enough to refuse evil and choose good, the land whose two kings you dread will be forsaken.” (vs. 16)  If you keep reading in Isaiah Ch. 7 and into Ch. 8, you see how God intends to fulfill this promise in an immediate sense.  Isaiah himself will have a child with the prophetess, who at the time of this prediction was a maiden (virgin), and they will have a son (8:3).  Before that child is able to say “mommy” or “daddy”, God will have used the King of Assyria to come and destroy Damascus and Samaria (8:4).  In other words, in the amount of time it took for Isaiah and the prophetess to have a child and for the child to begin to grow, God kept His promise to Ahaz to deliver him.  God promised: (1) THAT He would deliver, (2) HOW He would deliver, and (3) WHEN He would deliver!  And we see the whole promise unfold and be fulfilled right as we read through Isaiah.  Wow!

Now, granted, this fulfillment may not seem as amazing as the virgin birth.  But let’s not overlook this first horizon of fulfillment, as it is still amazing.  It should give us such encouragement when we see God make promises and then fulfill them.  And how wonderful is it that within one prophecy we can see the various horizons that God intended?  The fact that He kept His promise to send His own son through the virgin birth, is consistent with how He has always kept His promises, including the way He fulfilled that promise more immediately to Ahaz!  

God is a promise-keeping God!  As we see so many promises fulfilled in the first coming of Jesus, let’s let Christmas point us ahead in faith that God will keep all of His promises at the second coming of Jesus!  The coming of the King in the birth of Jesus makes us long for the fulness of His Kingdom when we are with Him face-to-face for all of eternity.  

For the greatest concentration of prophecies finding a horizon of fulfillment in Jesus, consider reading the gospel of Matthew.   

Have a Merry Christmas celebrating the faithfulness of our promise-keeping God!

-Jason

A Christmas Message from Pastor Kevin

By Kevin Wolfe,

Don't miss this important Christmas Message from Pastor Kevin!!

Christmas is a great time to behold the glory of the incarnation and to hold out the hope of Christ to those you love who God has put in your life in your neighborhood, workplace, etc.  The Christmas season seems to remove barriers of inviting people to church or into your home!

This Christmas season, can I encourage you to do two things:

  • Invite someone to our Christmas Eve services and services the two Sundays leading up to Christmas Eve.
  • Host a Christmas/New Year's gathering - simply invite people into your home and invite others from the church body to join you (reach out in community). 

Both of these are easy steps to connect with people and open up doors where you can share the Love of Christ to those you love and care for.  You'll be surprised by how many people will 
 
We have provided you with a couple ways to assist you in inviting people to the Christmas Eve services:

  • Pick up an invite card at Mountain View and hand deliver it 
  • Invite via Facebook event.  Simply go the below link and invite all your "friends" to come.  You can find it here: https://www.facebook.com/events/302086266646724/ (Click on "Invite Friends" to find friends you would like to invite)

I hope you have a wonderful, Christ exalting Christmas where you can hold out the hope of the World - Jesus - to those around you!

Pastor Kevin