I recently saw an idea via a friend of a friend, and I love it! The concept is a cross Christmas tree, cleverly called a CROSS-mas Tree. Now we have this display in our church building too.
When I first saw the cross Christmas tree, I thought, “That’s awesome! It’s one more way to remind us what Christmas is all about. I must get my hands on that so other people can see Jesus through it.” The idea also made me realize that finding Christ in Christmas doesn’t have to be an uphill battle.
A Closer Look at the Cross Christmas Tree
As it turns out, I was able to go one step further. The idea intrigued me so much that I connected with its creator, Darren Howard, and his wife, Karley. Here’s a peek at our conversation:
What was your inspiration for this CROSS-mas Tree?
Darren: I wanted something for my family and household to remember Jesus more specifically. The normal Christmas tree is a very symbolic thing for many people, but when I look at it by itself, I don’t get what it represents. When Jesus was born for us, He wasn’t just some special kid; He was our Savior. I wanted something Christmas-like that symbolized this. So I thought I’d make a cross-shaped tree because it would be more visually engaging. I had a lot of prodding of the Spirit to work on this. It was a real God thing.
How did that play out, from idea to making your first one?
Darren: I first had the idea about four year ago, right around Christmas. A whole year went by, and then the next year I got kidney stones and wasn’t able to work for a week. God slowed me down and stopped me, reminding me of the idea. So I used that time to create the first prototype and displayed it at my house. After I got married, life got busy again. But then I finally buckled down this year and realized it was time to make a hard push to get more out there. That came from people who saw the trees and kept asking me how much I saved doing it myself. Then i realized nothing of this size or nature was available. So we have a patent on its design and hope to serve churches and households with it.
What comments have you heard from people?
Karley: We have a lot of friends over to our house, and this cross Christmas tree gives us another way of opening up to share Christ’s love with them. Not all of them are believers. It’s a great way to share the Gospel with them.
Darren: I also have a niece and nephew who visit, and I’ve never had anything that visually draws them in to Jesus and who He is. Everything is so visual in their generation. So it’s cool when they see a CROSS-Mas tree and have their own takeaways from it. They’ve asked questions about its shape. That helps us help them think about Christ’s birth, what gift-giving represents, etc. It’s not just about the presents. This display pushes them to think about why we give presents. It’s more of a visual aid as to why we do that.
I like how this can help our church focus in on Jesus. I imagine tit will help countless people hone in on Him during worship.
Darren: A lot more Christians do seem to magically pop up around church [during this season]. The cross Christmas tree helps the nominal Christian transition into Christmas more. They see crosses and they get more serious. It engages them to challenge people more to consider the symbolism. I don’t think a lot of people realize the history of evergreens, either. Their needles are resistant to fire in ways other trees aren’t. They have the hardest of bark. They hold up against almost anything. In the Old Testament, people put pine branches in the Tabernacle. It’s such a great symbol of eternal, non-dying life. That symbolism wrapped up in a cross represents Christ. Until I did research, I didn’t realize some of that stuff.
This idea is so simple yet so profound. What do you think of the cross Christmas tree? Would you want one for your church or youth room?
Tony Myles is a multi-faceted ministry veteran, conference speaker, and author with a passion for the future of the church. He’s served that calling as a Senior Pastor and Youth Worker, and leads the Student Ministry Team at Riverside Church in Big Lake, MN…and he really likes smoothies.
This article originally appeared here.