Today in my 90-day devotional study by Beth Moore, Jesus, 90 days with The One and Only, Beth asked this question:
“What would you say to those who think this holiday is somewhat sacrilegious, that mingling something so sacred with something so increasingly secular cheapens our worship?”
To which I answered this:
“I would encourage them to do what I have done just this year, actually. I have studied many of the different decorations and traditions we see at Christmas. They may not be observed for religious reasons, but they appear to have Christian roots. We carry the real meaning of Christmas in our hearts. As we see the various aspects that seem to make it secular, we can carry in our hearts their true meaning as well.”
In that same vein, I thought it might be fun to spend a few days exploring the meaning behind some of the decorations we see at Christmas. I did this last week with my children’s choir, and we all really enjoyed it. It was truly enlightening and gave some of the traditions we observe new meaning for me.
Let’s start with the Christmas tree.
(Credit for this photo goes to http://www.darien.org)
According to David Bruce at hollywoodjesus.com, it was the Christian reformer, Martin Luther, who began the tradition of the Christmas tree. Another site, Allthingschristmas.com, verifies this. According to All Things Christmas, Martin Luther is held to have been the first to adorn a tree with lights. The story goes that “while coming home one December evening, the beauty of the stars shining through the branches of a fir inspired him to recreate the effect by placing candles on the branches of a small fir tree inside his home.”
Other facts I found concern the triangular shape of the tree, which is said to represent the Trinity, with the tip of the tree (triangle) pointing heavenward to God.
Its evergreen color represents eternal life.
One of my favorite aspects of the Christmas tree is this; its needles grow upward like hands raised in praise to our God.
While it is hard to say for certain whether or not these facts are true, I am choosing to believe that they are. It brings me great joy to think that the seemingly secular traditions I observe actually coincide with the real reason I celebrate Christmas.
May you see your tree this year in a whole new light.