Tag Archives: tree

Einstein is Fishy

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

This quote is hanging in my office. I love the sentiment. The idea that each person learns differently and has unique potential is spot on in my opinion.

Most of the time, when you see this quote, it is attributed to Einstein. Probably FALSE. The most likely source for this quote is actually an unknown author who wrote in the late 1800’s under the pen name Aesop Jr.

“Finding quotes on the internet is only slightly easier than making them up.” – Abraham Lincoln.

Do you ever feel stupid? Do you feel smart? What is the litmus test for determining the education level of a person?

One of my favorite movies is “Goodwill Hunting”. In this movie, a juvenile delinquent, who reads profusely, solves what was known as the unsolvable equation. His education was self-taught. He had a job as a janitor, but he was more proficient than many of the full-time students. Why? Because he invested himself in personal education.

I know many people who think they are smart but are very ignorant. I know others who feel stupid but are actually brilliant. Some people are naturally gifted one way or another to have perspective on certain topics, but in others, they are deficient. I once knew a genius who graduated high school as a freshman but couldn’t find his next class in a one-hall school. Intelligence is subjective to the matter being discussed.

So, all that discussion on education…how do you feel about your intelligence regarding our response to God and His word, the Bible?

Many people are truly ignorant of the Bible, but it is because they have never read it. Some people think they are knowledgeable of the Bible because they know what they’ve been taught for years, but they, too, never read it; they already know what’s in there. Some people read the Bible profusely, scrutinizing every word, but they, too, are ignorant of the Bible’s purpose.

Jesus said to the religious leaders, “You diligently search the scriptures because you think that in them you will find eternal life, but those very scriptures talk about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have eternal life.”

It is possible to do this today. It is not uncommon for people to get so caught up in how we are to do church and what doctrines are false or correct that we miss having a real relationship with Jesus. We spend time in the Bible to be able to answer questions and make arguments, not to fall in love with the author. We pray to ask God for stuff and intervention instead of just wanting to be in His presence. We fast to seek God’s….oh, wait. No, we don’t fast anymore.

We all want to feel smart about God and the Bible, but if we don’t know the author, then the intelligence we gain through reading words on a page is useless. Knowledge puffs up, and many people in the church are balloons. No wonder they pop at the slightest things that don’t fit their pre-conceived theology. When our foundation is merely knowledge, then things that challenge that knowledge challenge us. When relationship is our foundation, then there is little that can shake us from that foundation (Romans 8:35).

Let us all focus on growing in our love for Jesus and our knowledge of His love for us. May we see the scriptures as a map showing us God’s love and confirming our relationship with Him. And may we find security in this relationship that cannot be shaken when someone comes with a different argument that has no bearing on our relationship with the Father.

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O Christmas Tree

What is the origin of the Christmas tree? 

No one is quite sure when the evergreen tree became associated with Christmas. 

Many believe that for thousands of years the evergreen tree was seen as a symbol of eternal life since it was the only tree that kept its hue throughout the winter. In the Middle Ages there arose a tale that when Christ was born in the middle of winter (not likely), all the trees throughout the forest shook off the snow. During this time as well, the Christmas holiday was celebrated along with the feast of Adam and Eve. During this celebration, evergreen trees would be trimmed with fresh fruit representing the garden of Eden. 

By the 1500s, the areas now known as Germany and the Netherlands and a few other places began to celebrate Christmas with these trees as symbols of life. Churches would have an evergreen inside them with pyramids of candles next to them to present each family in the church. Eventually the candles migrated to the tree itself beginning the tradition of lighting the tree. 

The placing of presents under the trees came later as the tree became a central symbol of the Christmas season. One tradition early in the gift exchange tradition was that of wrapping the gift several times. Each time the gift was wrapped, a person’s name was placed on the wrapping. The gift was given to the outermost named person who unwrapped the outer layer and then handed it to the next name. No one would know exactly who the gift belonged to until the last layer. 

To me, Christmas trees represent so many wonderful things about Jesus. 

I see the evergreen tree itself as a symbol of life eternal and a precursor to the tree upon which Christ hung. I see the lights that twinkle as the light of Jesus shining in all of his followers. Each Christian is a light in the kingdom of eternal life. They also symbolize those who have gone before us much like Hebrews 12:1-2. 

The decorations on the tree are a celebration of the goodness of God. We don’t have one of those designer trees in our house. Our tree is filled with ornaments that represent different times in our lives. We have ornaments from when we were children and when our children were born. We have ornaments from each of the places we’ve lived. We have ornaments representing the things we love to do and those things that define us.  Every ornament is a celebration of God’s guidance and provision in our lives. 

The star on top reminds us to seek Jesus the way the wise men did when they followed the star. 

The first ornament that goes on our tree is a single square nail. This nail resents the savior whose birth we celebrate, but who would later give his life as a ransom for all people.  This nail reminds us that the gospel, the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, is the greatest gift God has given His creation. 

The Christmas tree is just a symbol used to be a reminder. It is not the center of the Christmas story. It is not the meaning of Christmas. However, it can remind us of what Christmas is all about and how gracious our God has been to come to this planet and be born, humbly, as a baby in a manger. 

I pray that each of you has a Merry Christmas this year, and that you remember and celebrate Christ every day of the rest of your life. 


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