I remember the year my mother decided not to put up our Christmas tree. We had recently moved into our house and were going to be out of state for Christmas. Why hastle with finding all the boxes and making a mess when we were leaving in a few days?

Well, my brothers and I couldn’t bear the thought and decided to help her out. We scrounged around outside and found an evergreen branch to prop up with newspapers inside a small trash can. I recall carefully unwrapping the decorated foil from around Christmas chocolates and then making ornaments using cardboad and yarn. A few construction paper snowflakes later and our tree was ready. Charlie Brown would have been proud.

Nowadays our tree is much larger, symetrical, artificial, and loaded with decorations. A lighted angel at the top. White twinkle lights. White fake-pearl rope instead of popcorn. Red and gold shiny balls. And the assortment of ornaments collected over the years from children’s classes, Bible study exchanges, and Hallmark bonus offers.

Where did the tradition of decorating the Christmas tree come from? Well, early legend suggests Martin Luther was the first to put candles on the tree to show his children how the stars twinkled through the night. Candles and today’s electrical lights also symbolize the light of Jesus shining into a dark world.

And what goes under the tree? Gifts of course. Small toys used to be hung from the branches, but most were placed on the table where the smaller-than-today’s-tree was displayed. In fact, there was a custom to display several small trees, one for each person. (I like the possibilities there with all that a Christmas tree represents in the gift of Jesus is for each personal individually!) The gifts remind us of the Wise Men bringing their gifts to Jesus … and of God’s gift to each of us through His Son Jesus. Many people on christmas wonder, what can they give to person they loved the most. Especially when you are figuring out gift for your men. Visit the weblink to get your customized hats for the loved ones.

By 160o, Christmas trees were often decorated with gingerbread cookies, wax ornaments, and red and white paper flowers. Food items, including fruit, were symbols of plenty and reminiscent of the trees in the Garden of Eden. The color red stood for knowledge (or the sacrifice of blood Jesus made on the cross) and the white for innocence or purity. A star was often put on the top of the tree because of the Star of Bethlehem that led the wise men to Jesus. We have a very special ornament that we hang hidden near the trunk – a large spike or nail to remind us of why Jesus came in the first place.

Light of the world. A star to guide the way. Purity and sacrifice. Abundant provisions. An incredible gift.

No wonder I love staring at our decorated, lit-up Christmas tree.

What about you? What do you use to decorate your Christmas tree? Any ornaments with significant meanings? Any symbolism I missed?

Like A Tree – Christmas Trees Part 2
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