I love Christmas trees! I have 2 this year that I can see from my chair that I sit in the most inside my home! One inside and I have one on my front porch too. The one inside has white lights and the one outside has colored lights along with a Grinch who is trying to steal it away from us. Just a touch of added whimsy to the Christmas for the grands to see when they come. My tree would never win any awards for decor. It is mostly filled with memories and traditions. But I love pulling it out just the same.
I wondered how the tradition of Christmas trees got started so I did a little research. The evolution of how we got to the Christmas trees of today was pretty interesting. It seems that in the 8th century in Germany there were pagan rituals taking place in front of some oak trees. A Benedictine monk named Boniface took an axe and chopped down the mighty oak tree to try to stop the pagans from worshiping a false idol. Legend has it that a fir tree grew out of the fallen oak and that became a symbol of Christ to them. The tree being triangular in shape, it represented the trinity. Then in Germany in the 16th and 17th century the Germans began to bring trees into their homes and decorating them. Martin Luther is credited for putting the first lights on the tree as he was walking home one evening and he loved the stars twinkling through the trees. He put candles on the tree in order to emulate the twinkling lights of the tree on a starlit night. Then in the late 1840s, Queen Victoria and her German husband, Prince Albert popularized the Christmas tree when a drawing was made of them and published in the London News of their family around a decorated tree. And a tradition was born. A couple of years later the same image was published in America and then soon decorating a Christmas tree became what it is today.
To me though, while all of those stories and legends are interesting the things that putting up a tree represent to me are the memories and just setting apart the season. At this stage of my life I think of the times our family decorated the tree when my boys were young and now it is one of my favorite things to do at the start of the season when my kids are in town to decorate the tree with my kids and my grands! I never have a Christmas season that I don’t remember the year my Daddy surprised me when he brought home a real Christmas tree. I was a senior in high school and we had had an artificial tree for years and he knew I wanted a real tree so one day when he was out he cut one down and brought it home. That tree looked just like one Charlie Brown would have cut down and brought home but to me it was the most beautiful tree I had ever seen because my Daddy did it for me. I love a beautifully decorated tree but I also love the memories and the twinkling lights of the tree in my home. I love the way the tree and the decorations set apart this season from the rest of the year.
As we look at the Christmas Trees think on the trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, three in one, that is the foundation of our faith. Think on the twinkling lights and let them remind you of the stars that would have shown brightly on a Holy night when a young mother gave birth to the Savior of the world in a dark and dirty stable. Think on the ways that decorating our homes for Christmas sets apart this season and let it remind you to set apart your heart for Him. And then think of the way that we can carry what’s born in your heart to a lost and hurting world for Him.
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16