“But he was wounded for our transgressions,
he was bruised for our iniquities:
the chastisement of our peace was upon him;
and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned everyone to his own way;
and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
Isaiah 53:5, 6
I have an old iron spike that is my most precious Christmas tree ornament. Nothing fancy. Just an old metal spike with a bright red satin ribbon tied to it so I can hang it on my tree. It’s not polished and it doesn’t shine; just an old pitted, dull gun-metal grey spike about 10” long, but it is hung with the utmost care.
Every year I hang this Christmas Nail on a sturdy branch near the trunk, a branch that will hold such a spike without being noticed by well-wishers who drop by to admire our gaily decorated tree. There is none of the glitz of the other ornaments, tinsel, or swirl of lights, none of the prominence of the angel that sits atop the tree, and none of the excitement of the wrapped presents below.
The nail is known only to me and my family, and understood only by the heart that knows it true significance.
I never want to forget what Jesus did for us. I never want to be so caught up in the spirit of Christmas celebration and gaiety that I become overwhelmed with the good cheer, the presents, and even that spirit of love for one another that we all feel in the air during this time, and forget the price that was paid for Christmas.
Over the years, I have written my traditional column about why I believe in Christmas — not the specifics of the date as much as the witness of God’s presence during this holiday season. No other time during the year can we taste a feeling of the unfathomable love of God for mankind like we do at Christmastime. There’s something special about this time that cannot be explained any other way than by the presence of the Holy Spirit to give mankind hope that God gave His only Son that we could have life. It’s as if God gives us a taste of His goodness.
But I never want to forget the price that was paid for Christmas.
The Christmas tree is but a picture of the Christ-tree which only He could decorate for us, ornamented with nails like this.