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Was Burl Ives right?

December 16, 2010

Does the sound of Burl Ives’ voice take you back to childhood? “Silver and gold, silver and gold, everyone wishes for silver and gold … How do you measure its worth? Just by the pleasure it gives here on earth…”


Since we want Jesus to take center stage in our Christmas, we’ve considered how to celebrate in a Christ-centered way. Stephanie shared  Tips for a Christ Centered Christmas, and Teri Lynne gave ideas for Scripture-Centered Traditions.  There’s no shortage of holiday bling, and Burl Ives left no doubt silver and gold are part of complete Christmas celebrations.  Can we deck the halls and do it for God’s glory?

The people of Israel brought precious metals and jewels to adorn God’s temple. Even in the wilderness, the outside of the tabernacle was made of rough hides, but the inside was full of gold and precious things reflecting the One being worshiped.  He reveals where true value lies when He addresses our own adornment. God hasn’t put a ban on the beautiful.

Your adornment must not be merely external–braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.  (1 Peter 3:3-4)

Instead of being wrong to deck and adorn, God wants our focus to be on a clean heart, focused on Him. He wants us to know that, while our eyes are attracted to beauty, He wants us to concentrate on what matters most.

How much better to get wisdom than    gold,    to get insight rather than    silver!    (Prov. 16:16)

Decking the halls helps us focus on the Reason for the Season, though the world’s bling can’t begin to reflect the majesty of the King who took on flesh and was born in Bethlehem.

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as    silver or gold    that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors,     but with the precious blood of Christ,     a lamb without blemish or defect.    (1 Pt. 1:18-19)

Instead of tossing out traditional Christmas decorations, begin with what God treasures and use beautiful things to draw attention to what’s on God’s mind.  As lovers of the Christ of Christmas, let’s be known for what we want as our centerpiece, not what we reject.

Suggestions for Decking the Halls with Meaning:

  • Show the Light has come to the world by stringing white lights, lighting a single white candle, or putting a light out in the darkness of your yard or forest.
  • The incarnation is a display of Christ’s humility. Place a golden crown on a bed of burlap as  centerpiece. Write Phil. 2:5-8 on a card and tuck it under the crown.
  • Jesus is God’s gift to the world; we see gifts of worship offered to Him. Wrap a royal gift as your table centerpiece, and when you give gifts to each other, talk about how it’s a reminder of God’s generous love gift to us.
  • Salvation rests on Christmas. Use the candy cane story to read together and discuss Jesus’ sacrifice. Use white lace on your counter top or table, placing a red amaryllis in the center to represent the blood of the baby who grew to be a man.

God doesn’t want us to eliminate adornment; He wants us to use it to celebrate what is truly to be treasured.

Burl Ives was not right. We don’t measure the value of silver and gold by our enjoyment. We can’t measure the majesty of the one it reflects, but we can celebrate Him with earthly expressions of our heavenly Babe King!

Silver and gold, silver and gold. Jesus our King deserves silver and gold.
We can not measure His worth, but we know He came to redeem men on earth.
Silver and gold, silver and gold, means so much more when we see
silver and gold decorations hung for the King of Kings!

Deck away, Scripture Dig friends, and may we glorify our Jesus in each beauty we display!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. December 16, 2010 10:23 am

    Julie ~ You are so right! Christmas is truly a matter of the heart. You said so many significant things in this one post. I love – “God hasn’t put a ban on beautiful.” “God doesn’t want us to eliminate adornment; He wants us to use it to celebrate what is truly to be treasured.”
    May we truly treasure Him this Christmas season and all year long. 🙂

  2. December 17, 2010 1:41 am

    You make a really great point here. We could decorate or not decorate, but regardless, we should praise and focus on Christ. God wants our hearts.

    I think of Colossians 3:17 with this subject: “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

    Good thoughts here! Thank you for sharing.

    • Julie Sanders permalink
      December 17, 2010 8:29 am

      That’s right, and the “whatever” can look so many different ways, but as followers of God, our “whatever” should honor Him. Thanks for sharing such an excellent verse to go along with this thought!

      Julie Sanders

  3. Bill Jerge permalink
    December 22, 2010 8:03 pm

    Try being happy in what we give, rather than what we get!

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