Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden'?" (Genesis 3:1 NASB)
It started right there, in front of a loaded fruit tree. The road to the manger in Bethlehem began at the foot of what turned out to be the first Christmas tree. The enemy of our soul, in the form of a serpent, entered the idyllic garden of love designed by God Himself as home to His new humans. He befriended Eve, deceived her, enticed her, destroyed her, and left her. That's how sin works, and when her hand reached out and took the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the sin of mankind began. A penalty for that breach of contract between God and man was owed. 4,000 years or so later, God Himself would come to straighten out the mess of sin mankind had created and pay our penalty Himself. He came in the form of a tiny baby, and today we celebrate His birth. His was the gift that paid the debt we owed but could never repay, and it is the most important gift of all those that will be exchanged today. It is the gift we didn't request, aren't always sure we wanted, and may not be quite sure what to do about. It is, however, the perfect gift, the perfect fit.
As you enjoy opening gifts, eating feasts with loved ones, and celebrating the joy of this day, remember that it is more than a celebration of a baby in a manger. This is a day to celebrate our redemption.
May the lights on your tree point you to that tree in the garden where it all began, and remind you that we are redeemed because of what God did in response to it.