“Put your boots on, everyone, and grab a jacket! We’re going to cut down our Christmas tree!”
We pile into the car and head for the hills, driving up the winding roads that lead to the top of the mountain where our favorite tree farm is located. We tromp through the narrow paths between fragrant firs, searching for the perfect tree. When everyone is finally in agreement, we all take turns with the saw and then we carry our tree down the hill, tie it to the roof of the car, and merrily take it home to decorate. To set the scene for the evening’s festivities, we make sure there is a crackling fire, Christmas music playing, and hot chocolate to fuel the decorating frenzy. By bedtime, the tree is sparkling, the halls are decked, the stockings hung, and the windows lit. Our house is ready…let the holidays begin!
And then the Lord interjects, “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this House remains a ruin?” (Haggai 1:4).
“What do you mean, Lord?” I pray in my heart, looking over the pretty scene in my cozy, paneled house. Sitting down by the warm glow of the Christmas tree, I open my Bible and read about the Lord’s House. It wasn’t being given the same attention as the people’s personal homes. They were too busy in their own pursuits and pleasures to notice the neglect. The Lord gently chides us, “Give careful thought to your ways…go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build My House.”
I close my Bible and pray. Having just gone up to the mountain to bring timber down to my house, the analogy is very real to me. Do I make the same effort to beautify the Lord’s House as I do my own?
In the Lord’s House dwell all kinds of people…rich and poor, lost and loved, fearful and favored. If I am one of the rich, loved and favored in this season of my life, shouldn’t I be reaching out to those who are poor, lost and fearful? Shouldn’t I be bringing some timber to the Lord’s House to help build it and make it strong, safe and secure for those who need its shelter?
Let’s all “give careful thought to our ways” this Christmas. Let’s enjoy preparing our homes for the holidays, but let’s be sure we’re making the Lord’s House beautiful too. Consider financially supporting Love INC this Christmas as we seek to bless those in our community who are poor and cannot provide for themselves, to those who are lost and need to be led to the love of Jesus, and to those who are fearful because they cannot afford to clothe and feed their families.
Here’s the end of the story: “So the Lord stirred up the spirit of…the people. They came and began to work on the House of the Lord Almighty, their God…‘I will fill this House with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace.’” (Hag. 1:14; 2:7, 9)
Let the Lord stir your spirit! Make the Lord’s House as beautiful as your own, and give generously this Christmas so that those who are poor will find peace.
Pastor at Rock Point Church
Member of Love INC Board of Directors
Shelter and Clearinghouse Volunteer