Ah the Evergreen. Balsam, Douglas Fir, White Fir, Scotch Pine, Colorado Blue Spruce, White Spruce, Arizona Cypress, Eastern Redceder and the list goes on and on. With so many options out there there really is Christmas Tree for everyone. Check out this link from the National Christmas Trees Association to find a description of some of the Christmas Trees sold today.
The evergreen tree existed in ancient times as a symbol of life and immortality. The trees were used throughout the winter festivals although at the time it appears that they remained unlit and undecorated. Legend has it that in the 700s a missionary to the Germanic tribes became so intolerant of the use and worship of trees, especially the oak tree which was sacred to pegan gods, he cut one down in defiance. From its roots a fir tree grew and he saw this as a sign of God’s mercy.
It was not until centuries later that the evergreen or fir tree was used as a symbol of Christmas. There is debate as to whether the Christmas Tree as we know it today can be credited to Martin Luther or to certain medieval dramas conducted as part of church worship in the 1500s. Martin Luther’s legacy states that he was so moved by the sight of a fir tree covered in snow that he cut down a tree and brought it into his house and tied candles to its branches in honour of the Christ child. The medieval dramas, however, were part of the winter festivals at the time and depicted biblical themes. One such drama took place on December 24 during the feast of Adam and Eve. In this drama a great tree was decorated with fruit and referred to as the Paradise tree. By the 1600s the plays were banned and it is quite possible the “Paradise” tree came to be set up in peoples’ homes linking the stories of creation and the nativity. In any event by the 1700s homes across Europe were displaying beautifully decorated Christmas trees and the custom remains to this day.
As it remains green throughout the year, the evergreen tree is a symbol of life and hope. As we decorate our trees this year, let’s be reminded of the life (eternal) and the hope that we have. The evergreen tree is a reminder to us to not grow dormant but to remain open and keep our focus heavenward.
I will hope in you, my strong and sure anchor. In you is all life.
References taken from Christianity Today: Story Behind – Why Christmas Trees (2015 12 02)(Web) and A Christmas Testimony: Christmas Symbols (2015 11 18)(Web)