The Mercy Tree

"We lost ourselves at one tree. And only find ourselves at another." Ann Voskamp

  This past Sunday was the first day of Advent, and we lit the first Advent candle, the candle of hope. Today we hung a paper ornament upon the Advent tree, of an apple, signifying that day when the human race fell from grace, where we lost ourselves, at that first tree.

 That first tree, where we lost our innocence, where we found our death. That first tree, where we took up the shackles of sin and became slaves. Where the man and the woman saw that they were naked, and were now ashamed of that nakedness. Where the man and the woman, made for themselves coverings of leaves to hide their that first tree, where God Himself walked in the garden, calling out "where are you?".

 "I heard You and I was afraid"

 "I knew that I was naked.......I hid from You."

"Who told you that you were naked?"

"the woman.....the serpent"

  Man and woman cast out from the garden.......yet in their rebellion, God still supplies grace, and the very first lesson... the lesson that sin has a price......that price is death..........only blood covers sin......and there in that garden, at that first tree, animals were slain by God to provide clothing for the man and the woman. To cover their shame the innocent died. 

            "And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them."

  There is a wonderful fictional book, called Havah, written by Tosca Lee, that describes the fall in vivid detail.  Havah (Eve)describes the wonder of the garden, the wonder of her relationship with the Adam, and their relationship with the creatures God has created. Everything is at peace. One of her favorite creatures is a tigeress that Adam named Adah, and Adah's mate, Havah loves these beautiful creatures and often naps with her head resting on Adah, listening to her purr. On the day that Adam and Eve fall from grace all this changes, and as she and he are fleeing the garden, she looks and sees two bodies on the ground, she is confused, the bodies are raw and red and wrong, and she sees one twitching, and she is shocked.......they flee the garden, the next day she awakes, confused, lost, everything has changed,  everything is wrong, and she feels the garment that lays upon her skin, she looks closely to examine it............and in shock she sees that it is Adah's coat that wraps around her body, the beautiful tigeress, her friend and companion..........

  God made garments of skins and clothed the nakedness of the man and the woman.........something died to provide those skins.

 So much lost at that first tree........but at that first tree comes grace, God clothes them, and God promises them a redeemer as he curses the serpent......."I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head,and you shall bruise his heel.”

 From that first tree to the last tree...........a multitude of promises

      • He will come through the seed of the woman
      • He will come through the line of Shem
      • He will come through the line of Abraham
      • He will come through the line of Judah
      • He will come through the line of Jesse
      • He will come through the line of David
      • He will come from the town of Bethlehem
      • He will come as a child and a son
      • He will be born of a virgin
      • He will be called “Immanuel”
      • He will be called “the Lord our righteousness”
      • He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace
      • He will come in humility
      • He will serve as a prophet in Israel
      • He will bring good news to the afflicted
      • He will crush the head of the Serpent
  •  And we come to the last tree, the Mercy Tree, where the King of Glory hung, battered and beaten, bruised and spit upon.....the God who long ago stood at the first tree, and slew two animals to cover the nakedness and shame of the man and the woman, becomes the perfect sacrifice for all sin. He gives up His life, to cover our sin and shame. The Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.He who knew no sin, He who lived a blameless life, the perfect unblemished Messiah, dies in our place.......and on the third day, defeated death and hell by rising from the grave, He ascended into power and glory, and one day, He will come again, to receive His own unto Himself, and He will make all things right again.....then it will be as it was before we met the first tree.
  • All was lost at the first tree..............have you come to the second tree?

     All was lost at that first tree..........all can be found at the last tree.......the Mercy Tree.......

    On a hill called Calvary
    Stands an endless mercy tree
    Every broken weary soul
    Find your rest and be made whole
    Stripes of blood that stain its frame
    Shed to wash away our shame
    From the scars pure love released
    Salvation by the mercy tree

    In the day between two thieves
    Hung the blameless Prince of Peace
    Bruised and battered, scarred and scorned
    Sacred head pieced by our thorns
    "It is finished" was His cry
    The perfect Lamb was crucified
    His sacrifice our victory
    Our Savior chose the mercy tree

    Hope went dark that violent day
    The whole earth quaked at Love's display
    Three days silent in the ground
    This body born for Heaven's crown
    On that bright and glorious day
    When Heaven opened up the grave
    He's alive and risen indeed
    Oh, praise Him for the mercy tree

    Death has died, love has won
    Hallelujah, hallelujah
    Jesus Christ has overcome
    He has risen from the dead

    One day soon we'll see His face
    Every tear, He'll wipe away
    No more pain or suffering
    Praise Him for the mercy tree

            Christmas is coming...........we await, in hope, the arrival of our messiah..........Christmas is coming!



    Ann Voskamp quote is from her new Christimas book, "The Greatest Gift".

    Story of Hanah is from Tosca Lee's book "Hanah", the fictional story of Eve.