"Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord; for he is coming." - Psalm 96:12,13
No, this is not a reflection on the spiritual significance of your Christmas tree, but it is about trees. In the Bible trees are sometimes not the staid objects we take them for, but lively participants in a great celebration.
For example, at our wedding we heard this from Isaiah 55: 12: "All the trees of the field shall clap their hands." And in today's verse "all the trees of the forest sing for joy."
What are these excitable trees singing and clapping about? They are celebrating the coming of God, a coming worth getting excited about, full of promise for the restoration, judging, cleansing and healing of all things. And this coming will not be only for people and nations, but for all that belongs to the Creator, "the whole earth and everything in it."
Which means that our Advent hope for the coming of God is not a private "spiritual" matter, but a hope of quite cosmic proportions.
And if that is the scope of God's redeeming love, how should we regard not just "the trees of the forest" but also all the other living things that God has made? Because someday we may be celebrating, singing and clapping, right alongside them.
Creator God, let us care for your good earth that on the Day of your coming the great chorus will be complete. Amen.
Richard L. Floyd is Pastor Emeritus of First Church of Christ (UCC) in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and author of A Course In Basic Christianity and When I Survey the Wondrous Cross: Reflections on the Atonement. He blogs at richardlfloyd.com.