Real Christmas Trees

These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. — Matthew 15:8

Nothing says the holidays quite like a Christmas tree. It’s the centerpiece of our Christmas decorations, swathed in beautiful lights and cherished ornaments Take a moment and picture the Christmas tree of your childhood. Was it prickly and artificial, or scented and live?

Sometimes it can be hard to tell the artificial trees from the real ones. They can look just like the real thing, especially when they’re decorated. But if you grew up with a live Christmas tree, you know that the true test is if you are still picking up pine needles in February.

The true test for Christ-followers is the condition of our hearts.

During Jesus’ time on earth, He had faithful followers and angry opponents, but there were also artificially faithful followers who looked and played the part. We may have been fooled into thinking they were the real thing, but Jesus was never fooled. He could look past the pretty decorations and see the selfish hearts beneath.

As with His followers when He was on earth, Christ sees the real and the artificial in our hearts today, too. We each have different motivations, and only God is fit to judge what’s real and not real. During Advent, as we prepare for the coming of Christ, let’s examine the condition of our hearts as well.

Take some time today to make sure your heart is clean and your faith is real.

What kind of Christmas tree do you have? What do you like about it?

What are some ways you can distinguish between what’s real and what’s fake?

Is your faith the real thing, or have you been going through the motions lately? Talk to God about it.

Excerpted with permission from The Advent Project, copyright Zondervan.

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Your Turn

Advent starts in ten days. It’s a time of waiting, orienting our hearts Jesus, and preparing for the joy of Christmas Day. Join us in focusing on the Messiah wholeheartedly this year! Come share your thoughts with us. We want to hear from you! ~ Laurie McClure, Faith.full

For over eighty years, Zondervan has partnered with authors to deliver transformational, educational and vocational resources that renew minds, enrich lives, and change the world.

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