7 February, 2023

Your Picture on His Tree

by | 5 December, 2022

By Doug Redford 

As Christmas draws near, many websites and newspapers will list various places in your area where you can go and cut down your own Christmas tree. Some people will remember what it was like in their childhood to cut down the family Christmas tree and take it home to decorate. Some may still do that as an annual family tradition. It can be a chore at times to find the perfect tree—just the right size and shape—so you can bring it home and decorate it with all kinds of ornaments. Others prefer artificial trees, which save time and effort and make decorating go a little more quickly. 

Some parents have taken pictures of each of their children at their first Christmas and then made ornaments from the pictures to hang every year on their Christmas tree. Years later, they create ornaments with pictures of their grandchildren, as well. Personal ornaments like those are a special way to remember those we love at Christmas.  

Some evening when you are looking at your beautiful Christmas tree, think about another kind of tree mentioned in Scripture in a passage where Paul described the impact of Jesus’ death: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’” (Galatians 3:13, New American Standard Bible). Paul was telling how Jesus, by his death on the cross, took sin’s curse upon himself—a curse that we as sinners deserved. 

The tree Paul had in mind certainly isn’t a pretty sight; it was decorated with nothing but Jesus’ body and blood. But consider this: on that tree could appear every one of our pictures because all of us were on God’s mind when he gave his Son to die for us . . . every one of us. That’s a lot of pictures, but God has a lot of love. 

Here at Communion, we remember this blood-stained tree. It may never be featured on a greeting card as the perfect tree, but the perfection is found in the Gift that was given there—just what we all needed. As you take these emblems, imagine the cross (that tree) with your picture on it, for our Savior offered up that Gift with you in mind. 

Doug Redford has served in the preaching ministry, as an editor of adult Sunday school curriculum, and as a Bible college professor. Currently he is the minister at Highview Christian Church in Cincinnati. 


Latest Articles

Ministry Help Wanted

Versailles (IN) Church of Christ is seeking a full-time minister, and IDES is hiring for several positions. Plus more.


By taking these symbols of Jesus’ body and blood, we announce we believe there really was a Jesus, and he really did die for us and carried all our sins down to a grave . . .

Documentary Highlights Christian Response to Pandemics

Southeast Christian Church’s “Purpose in Pandemics” is a documentary that follows the response of the church to pandemics throughout history. The “Purpose in Pandemics” website also includes a study guide for small groups and individuals.

Used of God

I soaked up Sam Stone’s wit and wisdom during our lunches together. Afterward, I’d take notes about our conversations. After hearing of his passing, inspired by his wordsmithing, I felt compelled to share just a small part of his story.

Sam E. Stone: ‘He Tried to Speak the Truth in Love’

In memory and appreciation of our former editor, Sam E. Stone, who died early this week, we share this 2011 column from Christian Standard’s archives in which Sam discussed four Scripture verses significant to his life.

Elliott Library ‘Cornerstone’ Laid

Three Bibles of historical significance to Cincinnati Christian University were the first books place on the shelves during relocation of the George Mark Elliott Library.

The Death of Evil

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. saw in minority groups’ struggles for social equality in America a parallel with Israel’s bondage in Egypt. King envisioned God’s goodness would deliver the U.S. from the evil of segregation.

Mark Scott’s Greatest Kingdom Impact

Since I first enrolled at Ozark Christian College, Mark Scott has been my kingdom hero, and I’m not the only young preacher Mark has shaped. Over his 35 years at OCC, Mark has inspired generations of students.

‘Have We Plans for 1921?’

“All the Standard asks is the opportunity to serve, and it yearns to render in 1921 the greatest, finest, and best service of its history. . . .”

CCLF Concluding Strong First Year in Greater Cincinnati

In its first full year, the Christian Church Leadership Foundation has accomplished much to ensure Christian education and resources would continue to be available to people in the Greater Cincinnati area.

News Briefs for Dec. 9

Items from Timber Lake Christian Church (Moberly, Mo.), Choateville Christian Church (Frankfort, Ky.), Johnson University, and more.

My Counsel for Young Preachers

If I were counseling an aspiring young preacher fresh out of Bible college or seminary, champing at the bit to lead in the church, I would offer these three bits of advice.

My Memories of Marshall Leggett

By Ben Merold
As I think about Marshall Leggett, who passed away on March 2 at age 90, two personal experiences keep coming to my mind . . .

Powell Quintuplets Graduating from High School

When the Powell quintuplets were born in 2001, all of Kentucky celebrated, including Southeast Christian Church, where the Powells are longtime members. Now the quints are 18 and are all headed to the same university.

Reentry: It May Be Harder Than We Think

When the COVID-19 crisis eases, I anticipate that reentry is going to be harder than some people think. Churches, especially, need to prepare for this.