Tiny twinkling lights that shine through hues of red and green, glimmering off gossamer garland that gently flows in and out of branches adorned with glittering ornaments, and shining from the apex a star seeming to call us all home. Christmas trees seem to bring us so much pleasure and enjoyment during the holiday season. They fill our homes with a warm glow and decorate our lives with beautiful memories and love. Isn’t it interesting how our rooms seem to be so full before we place the tree in our midst, and yet when it is removed in a few short weeks the room seems empty? But where did this tradition begin and what does the tree symbolize?
The tradition of using an evergreen tree as a Christmas tree is thought to have begun nearly a thousand years ago. Though at that time the trees would have been suspended upside down from the ceiling (I’m quite thankful that tradition has long since passed…). However, the idea of bringing a tree into your home is thought to have originated with the 16th century German preacher Martin Luther. He is said to have been walking through the woods at night when he observed the stars shining through the tree branches. This sight reminded him of Christ who left the heavenly stars to come to earth at Christmas.
Another Christmas tree tradition stems from St. Boniface of Crediton. He rescued a young boy from the clutches of his captors, by cutting down a large oak tree to prevent the boy’s ritual sacrifice. From the roots of the oak tree, there emerged a small fir tree. St. Boniface’s followers then decorated the tree with candles allowing him to preach at night, and further the message of Jesus Christ.
Our Christmas trees today hold a whole host of symbols of our faith. The tree’s triangular shape is a symbol of the Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Being an evergreen tree, it reminds us both of our new and everlasting life in Christ, and of His eternal love for each of us. We often top it with a star commemorating the star of Bethlehem which shown above the manger where Christ was born and was followed by the wisemen to lead them on a journey of hope to the King of Kings. Others may top their tree with an angel, which symbolizes the angel that appeared to the shepherds in the fields to announce the birth of Christ. The ornaments used to decorate our trees represent the fruit from the Tree of Life, through the memories and pleasure they evoke we are reminded to ensure that our lives are bearing good fruit in the service of our Lord. Lastly, the lights in which we wrap our tree bring light and warmth, this reminds us that Christ is the light of the world, and He will guide us through the darkness.
So, as we adorn our homes with these beautiful decorations, let us always keep present in our minds the reason for the season, the birth of Jesus Christ. May His peace and joy be ever present for your family this Christmas and may you have a blessed and Happy New Year.
School Year Program Director
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