Saturday, December 10, 2011

O, Christmas Tree


O Christmas Tree : Lyrics

O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Thy leaves are so unchanging;
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Thy leaves are so unchanging;
Not only green when summer's here,
But also when 'tis cold and drear.
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Thy leaves are so unchanging!

O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Much pleasure thou can'st give me;
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Much pleasure thou can'st give me;
How often has the Christmas tree
Afforded me the greatest glee!
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Much pleasure thou can'st give me.

O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Thy candles shine so brightly!
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Thy candles shine so brightly!
From base to summit, gay and bright,
There's only splendor for the sight.
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Thy candles shine so brightly!

O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
How richly God has decked thee!
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
How richly God has decked thee!
Thou bidst us true and faithful be,
And trust in God unchangingly.
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
How richly God has decked thee! !"


In a season where believers seek to give glory an honor, above all else, to the author of the universe and the Savior of our souls,  some are asking a question...


What is the Christmas tree, really?  Where did it come from?  Pagan or Christian symbol?


I am no scholar, but here is some of what I've found:
  • Many Pagan cultures used to cut boughs of evergreen trees in December, move them into the home or temple, and decorate them. This was to recognize the winter solstice.
  • During the Roman celebration of the feast of Saturnalia, Pagans did decorate their houses with clippings of evergreen shrubs. They also decorated living trees with bits of metal and replicas of their God, Bacchus.
Fortunately, our modern use of pine trees to celebrate the birth of Jesus (which by the way was not actually on December 25... that is just the day we have chosen to honor his birth) doesn't originate from either of those or any other pagan use of one of God's beautiful creations.

In an article byDr. Richard P. Bucher he points out a few things I never knew about our Christmas tree tradition:
  • Karas (sited reference author) has amply demonstrated that evergreens have been a symbol of rebirth from ancient times. Bringing greenery into one's home, often at the time of the winter solstice, symbolized life in the midst of death in many cultures.14 The Romans decked their homes with evergreens and other greenery during the Kalends of January.15 Living trees were also brought into homes during the old German feast of Yule, which originally was a two-month feast beginning in November. The Yule tree was planted in a tub and brought into the home.16 However, the evidence just does not exist which shows that Christians first used trees at Christmas as a symbol of [the above noted] rebirth, nor that the Christmas tree was a direct descendent of the Yule tree. On the contrary, the evidence that we have points in another direction. The Christmas tree appears to be a descendent of the Paradise tree and the Christmas light of the late Middle Ages.
  • From the eleventh century, religious plays called "mystery plays" became quite popular throughout Europe. These plays were performed outdoors and in churches. One of the most prevalent of these plays was the "Paradise play." The play depicted the story of the creation of Adam and Eve, their sin, and their banishment from Paradise. The play would end with the promise of the coming Savior and His Incarnation (cf. Gen. 3:15). The Paradise play was simple by today's standards. The only prop on stage was the "Paradise tree," a fir tree adorned with apples. From this tree, at the appropriate time in the play, Eve would take the fruit, eat it, and give it to Adam.
  • (...)The tree reminds us of the tree in Eden by which Adam and Eve were overcome and which thrust them into sin. But more importantly, the tree reminds us of the tree by which our sin was overcome, namely the tree upon which Christ Jesus was crucified.  (...)Peter writes, "He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed."(...)
Therefore, I do believe that the Christmas tree is a wonderful symbol and reminder of our salvation and forgiveness through Jesus Christ!



Enjoy your tree with all the trimmings... just remember The One and The Gift it represents!

Merry CHRISTmas!



3 comments:

  1. I have a story that says the Christmas tree, which remains green all year round, is a symbol for us to be everlasting in our faith and to continually remember our Heavenly Father. Just thought I'd share :) ~ Chastity

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  2. I was going to write how there are a lot of personal beliefs we can have about the Christmas tree and how many people have come up with different renditions of the meanings of all of the holiday decor (ie. lights, holly, candy canes, etc...), but thought the post to be quite long enough already! :) Here, I am just trying to bring clarity to the actual origin of how the tradition of the Christmas tree as we know it came to be... and it wasn't from the feast of Saturnalia! There is surely a lot more detail that could go into a post like this... it's just a brief overview.

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