Tree of Life Christmas Ministering Message
I will let you in on a little secret. I always write my Christmas message the year before. It allows me to take my time and dig into the scriptures unrushed over the holiday. Last year, I wrote this Tree of Life Christmas Ministering Message when the world still looked normal. When Christmas was still full of bustling malls and back-to-back school concerts.
This year feels very, very different. But the story still applies. Last year the dark and dreary wilderness was the stress of impossible perfection and getting sucked into the rush for more. This year it is the mourning of what is missing and the stress of the unknown.
During this very different kind of Christmas, I hope this story helps you see the account of the Tree of Life with fresh eyes. I hope that you see Lehi’s invitation to come and partake of the Tree of Life as an invitation to you this Christmas. And I hope that in these scriptures you find peace, perspective, and the fruit that fills our souls with “exceedingly great joy.”
For those teaching from “Come, Follow Me” at home, in Sunday School, or for Relief Society, this story works well with the section “Jesus Christ came to earth to be my Savior” in December 21–27.
Tree of Life Christmas Ministering Message Printable
The included printable is very special to me. I wanted to incorporate the Tree of Life into a Christmas wreath as a reminder of the Nativity story found in 1 Nephi 11. And most importantly, I wanted to tie together our search for Christ at Christmas with Lehi’s and Nephi’s search for Christ. So I teamed up with my amazing niece to make my vision a reality. She worked so hard and I had so much fun collaborating with her. She did an amazing job and I treasure what she has created. I love how the fruit of the tree stands together with the verse exhorting us to behold the Lamb of God. You can see more of her work @happynotesandbrushstrokes.
Download Tree of Life Christmas Ministering Message Printable
I decided to pair the Tree of Life Christmas Ministering Message printable with these cute little card holders.
And I wrapped them up with a candle to symbolize the soft glow of the lights in the story.
And now finally the story!
A Tree of Life Christmas Story
The trip to the mall was going to be quick – popping in and out to return a few gifts. But in December, malls trips are never quick.
I found the department store just fine, but the return desk was nowhere in sight. I wandered around the spacious building looking for someone to ask or a sign to point me in the right direction. As I browsed through the departments, I was reminded of presents I still needed to buy and how much I wanted to redecorate my Christmas tree this year.
After roaming around for what felt like many hours, I found the return section and settled into a long line behind a woman who was returning a white bathrobe.
While Lehi tarried in the wilderness with his family, he spake unto them, saying,
“Behold, I have dreamed a dream; or, in other words, I have seen a vision. … I saw in my dream, a dark and dreary wilderness. And it came to pass that I saw a man, and he was dressed in a white robe; and he came and stood before me. And it came to pass that he spake unto me, and bade me follow him. And it came to pass that as I followed him I beheld myself that I was in a dark and dreary waste.”
The whole month had felt like this. Anything I tried to get done took so much longer than I planned. I wanted to love Christmas, but right now I felt anxious and tired. A recent meme on Instagram had captured it perfectly, “It’s that time of year when I switch my everyday anxiety to my fancy Christmas anxiety.”
Even though the store was bright with lights and Christmas decorations, I felt dark and dreary. As I waited, my mind continued to trudge through thoughts of gifts I had wanted to make, budgets I wanted to keep, and traditions I wanted to create. I had nine more people left to shop for and teacher gifts to still make. The desire to make the holiday special for my family and everybody else weighed down on me. I was spending every free moment preparing for Christmas. But instead of feeling joy, I just felt tired.
Driving home from the mall, I began to pray for help. I didn’t want Christmas to feel like this anymore. How could I feel joy this Christmas? How could I get it all done and still enjoy it? How could I feel the spirit in the midst of so much busyness?
“After I had traveled for the space of many hours in darkness, I began to pray unto the Lord that he would have mercy on me, according to the multitude of his tender mercies. And it came to pass after I had prayed unto the Lord I beheld a large and spacious field. And it came to pass that I beheld a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy.”
Walking into the house, I spotted my scriptures still lying on the kitchen table. I had sat down to read that morning but got distracted and never picked them back up. I had been too focused on all the things I needed to do.
And Lehi said,
“I beheld a rod of iron, and it extended along the bank of the river, and led to the tree by which I stood. And I also beheld a strait and narrow path, which came along by the rod of iron, even to the tree by which I stood. … And I saw numberless concourses of people, many of whom were pressing forward, that they might obtain the path which led unto the tree by which I stood. And it came to pass that they did come forth, and commence in the path which led to the tree. And it came to pass that there arose a mist of darkness; yea, even an exceedingly great mist of darkness, insomuch that they who had commenced in the path did lose their way, that they wandered off and were lost. And it came to pass that I beheld others pressing forward, and they came forth and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press forward through the mist of darkness, clinging to the rod of iron, even until they did come forth and partake of the fruit of the tree.”
Walking over to the table, I grabbed hold of the Book of Mormon. As I opened the book, the pages fell open to 1 Nephi 11. As I started to read, I realized it was a prophecy of the birth of Christ. I was used to reading the account of Christ’s birth in the New Testament and suddenly remembered that there was a tender account of Mary and the Christ child here in 1 Nephi.
After hearing about his father’s vision, Nephi desired to know what he had seen. As he sat pondering in his heart, he was caught away in the Spirit of the Lord.
“And it came to pass that the Spirit said unto me: Look! And I looked and beheld a tree; and it was like unto the tree which my father had seen; and the beauty thereof was far beyond, yea, exceeding of all beauty; and the whiteness thereof did exceed the whiteness of the driven snow.
And it came to pass after I had seen the tree, I said unto the Spirit: I behold thou hast shown unto me the tree which is precious above all.
And he said unto me: What desirest thou?
And I said unto him: To know the interpretation thereof. … And it came to pass that he said unto me: Look! … And I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white. …
And it came to pass that I beheld that she was carried away in the Spirit; and after she had been carried away in the Spirit for the space of a time the angel spake unto me, saying: Look! And I looked and beheld the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms.
And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father!”
As I read through Lehi’s dream, suddenly I saw my own Christmas. Even though I was surrounded by tinsel and lights, it was only a dark and dreary wilderness that could not give me joy. I needed to make it to the Tree of Life, but I wasn’t holding on to the rod of iron tight enough. I was getting lost in the mists of darkness and the great and spacious building was distracting me from my goal.
Lehi explains the great and spacious building to his family,
“And I also cast my eyes round about, and beheld, on the other side of the river of water, a great and spacious building; and it stood as it were in the air, high above the earth. And it was filled with people, both old and young, both male and female; and their manner of dress was exceedingly fine; and they were in the attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers towards those who had come at and were partaking of the fruit. And after they had tasted of the fruit they were ashamed, because of those that were scoffing at them; and they fell away into forbidden paths and were lost.”
The term “great and spacious” building is perfect. It sounds very upscale and high end. If you saw a real estate listing that said “great and spacious” you’d know that it would be going for top dollar. But what does “great and spacious” really mean? It means big and empty. My pursuit of a “great and spacious” Christmas had led to holidays that were big, but empty.
It didn’t mean I should give up presents and traditions. Presents are great. They are a wonderful way to celebrate the coming of the “giver of all gifts.” But I needed to change how I gave. My best Christmas memories had not come in boxes but in moments spent with my family engaged in Christian service.
Traditions are also wonderful. But were they contributing to or detracting from my family feeling the love of God? I was only going to find joy in gifts and traditions if they were full with the love of God.
When Lehi partook of the fruit, he said it was most sweet, the sweetest thing he had ever tasted,
“And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit.”
Later, Nephi learned for himself the meaning of the fruit. When the angel asked Nephi the meaning of the tree, Nephi answered,
“Yea, it is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things.”
When I looked up from the scriptures, I saw my Christmas tree with new eyes. The white lights gleamed brightly in the dark room. In the soft haze of the lights, I could see Lehi’s tree and the sweet, white fruit that hung from its branches.
Did you like this Tree of Life Christmas Ministering Message? Find more Relief Society Ministering Printables for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
These ministering printables are a great way to help families incorporate the “Come, Follow Me” lessons into their own study. They are also perfect for Young Women’s, Relief Society, or Sunday School. I hope that these ministering printables will be a simple way to reach out to those we minister to.