What the Christmas tree means

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

The Christmas tree is a symbol of the holiday season and a tradition that has been around for centuries. It’s roots come from pagan traditions, but it became a Christian symbol in the 16th century.

The Christmas Tree symbolizes the birth of Jesus Christ. It is a representation of the tree in the Garden of Eden and it is also a reminder that we are all children of God who should love one another. Read more in detail here: what does the christmas tree symbolize in the bible.

We all adore Christmas, and what is one of the most important aspects of the holiday season? Of course, there’s the Christmas tree! But what does the tree that decorates our home during the holidays really represent? What is the significance of the Christmas tree?

What Is the Origin of the Christmas Tree?

Winter celebrations were associated with the use of evergreens and greenery, since they were plants that lasted all year and were thought to protect the home from bad spirits, witches, ghosts, and diseases.

People thought that since these plants remained green throughout the year, particularly throughout the winter, they would be protected; it was not only a symbol of protection, but also of health.

What is the Christmas tree’s real origin?

Originally, the Christmas tree was a pagan religious emblem of festivity. It is mostly recognized as a German custom.

If they couldn’t locate a plant to symbolize the tree, the Christmas tree became a pyramid tree. People would make a tree-like pyramid out of wood and adorn it with nuts, gingerbread, apples, paper, and candles.

On Christmas Eve, the trees and pyramids were typically paraded throughout town to display to the other families as a symbol of good health, to ward off bad spirits. Throughout the 16th century, it grew in popularity, eventually becoming very popular among aristocracy and royalty.

Is there a religious significance to a Christmas tree?

For the Saturnalia festival, Romans used evergreens to adorn their temples, while Ancient Egyptians used green palm rushes to decorate their temples as part of devotion to the God of Ra.

It is said that a guy named Martin Luther brought the first recorded Christmas tree inside and decorated it in the 16th century. He was reported to have seen the stars through the evergreen trees on his way home and returned home to tell his children that it reminded him of Jesus. People began to decorate trees with candles as a sign of inviting Jesus into their homes after he wrote a sermon for his church about the event. For Christians, the Christmas tree symbolizes Jesus and the light he gives to the world.

Where did the tradition of putting up a Christmas tree originate from?

It originated from the custom of covering the tree or ‘Christmas pyramid’ with gingerbread, candles, and other decorations to resemble/replicate Jesus’ birth narrative. This was done so that as individuals went about presenting and showing off their Christmas trees/pyramids, they were encouraging others to come to the church to see their nativity play based on the Christmas narrative.

Though, as time passed, it became increasingly usual for households to retain their trees inside to adorn as their own, rather than as community showpieces.

Could you image trying to lug a Christmas tree around your block? It’s no wonder that we now keep our Christmas trees in our homes for our family to enjoy.

Why do we decorate our Christmas trees with ornaments?

Nowadays, decorating the Christmas tree is such a significant occasion for families; it is the time of year when they all gather together to decorate the tree, which they then sit around and put gifts beneath as the centerpiece of their holiday celebration.

However, the root of why we place ornaments on the tree may be traced back to the 16th century. Europeans would use apples to adorn their trees to represent the paradise tree in the tale of Adam and Eve, as well as to remind people of the forbidden fruit Eve ate.

Christmas trees were subsequently adorned with delectable delicacies such as gingerbread stars, angels, and holly, as we know them today.

The very first Christmas ornament

Glassblower Hans Greiner is believed to have developed the first glass ornament because he couldn’t afford to purchase apples and chose to manufacture his own. Others started to purchase his glass apples and other glass decorations that resembled fruit and nuts to symbolize the Christmas holiday after seeing his works.

Now, I’m not sure about you, but these glass apples and nuts sound very similar to the ornaments we purchase now, so it’s no surprise they were popular.

Why do we decorate a Christmas tree with lights?

Putting lights on a tree harkens back to the concept of the lights symbolizing Jesus as Light in the Dark. The stars and planets in the sky were represented by the lights and decorations on the tree. Many Christians would put a manger beneath their trees to represent Jesus Christ’s advent under the stars.

However, it wasn’t until the mid-nineteenth century that Americans and Britons began to adorn their Christmas trees! After Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband, brought the custom over from Germany, it became popular. (For additional information on how to celebrate Christmas Victorian style, see How To Celebrate Christmas Victorian Style.)

In America, however, putting lights on Christmas trees (candles) needed buckets of water and sand since it was not unusual for the trees to catch fire, which they did often.

It wasn’t until 1882 when Thomas Edison’s colleague Edward Johnson adorned his Christmas tree with electric lights, earning him the moniker “Father of the Electric Christmas Tree.” The tradition of adorning Christmas trees with electric lights spread from there, and by 1920, electric Christmas lights were available in every shop.

Why do we adorn our Christmas trees with tinsel?

Tinsel was invented in the 17th century in Europe, and it was made by pounding silver alloy until it was paper-thin and then cutting it into strips. It was used as a Christmas tree ornament to reflect the flickering and glistening candle flames. They seemed as if there were sparkling stars in the sky, but they were on their trees.

Obviously, we can now buy tinsel in nearly every color conceivable, but the combination of tinsel and lights can produce a sparkling star appearance, making this time of year even more wonderful for you and your family.

Showing Mercy

Proverbs 19:17 The Message

17 Mercy to the needy is a loan to God,
    and God pays back those loans in full.

When I look a the meaning behind this proverb I realise what a powerful statement it is.

In order to become true Christians we do need to show mercy on the poor, and God will pay us back in full

There are many ways that we can do this, we can attend to the needs of the poor in countries not so well off as our own.

Many Cities and large towns will have soup runs run by some sort of organisation for the down and outs in our towns and cities.

Also for those families who can’t afford to go to the big supermarkets many churches or organisations run ‘Food banks’ for those on a low income

We mustn’t forget the money that gets raised by the various churches and organisations to be distributed both in the UK and overseas.

On the lead up to Christmas some churches have a shoe box appeal for the less fortunate children overseas who wouldn’t normally be recieving a Christmas present

Jesus standing at the door

Revelation 3:20 New International Version 

20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

O Jesus, thou art standing, Image result for the light of the world
outside the fast closed door,
in lowly patience waiting
to pass the threshold o’er:
shame on us, Christian brothers,
his Name and sign who bear,
O shame, thrice shame upon us,
to keep him standing there!

O Jesus, thou art knocking;
and lo, that hand is scarred,
and thorns thy brow encircle,
and tears thy face have marred:
O love that passeth knowledge,
so patiently to wait!
O sin that hath no equal,
so fast to bar the gate!

O Jesus, thou art pleading
in accents meek and low,
“I died for you, my children,
and will you treat me so?”
O Lord, with shame and sorrow
we open now the door;
dear Savior, enter, enter,
and leave us never more.

One my favourite pieces of music is ‘The Light of the World’ which depicts Holman Hunts picture of Jesus standing outside a closed door and if you look closely at the door you will see there is no knob on the outside to open the door.

God’s Time

Jeremiah 29

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

I have this tune on a recent CD I bought it’s a piano arrangement and I love the tune but being a musician when i looked up these words it made the tune a lot more meaningful.

As Jeremiah tells us God has plans for each of us we just need to pray for him to show and teach us the way to enable us do what he says.

In His time, in His time,See the source image
He makes all things beautiful in His time.
Lord, please show me everyday
As You’re teaching me Your way,
That you do just what You say in Your time.

In Your time, in Your time,
You make all things beautiful in Your time.
Lord, my life to You I bring,
With its winter and its spring,
May I fathom everything in Your time.

There’s a time, there’s a time
Both for sowing and for reaping there’s a time.
Time for losing, time for gain,
Time for joy and time for pain,
Every purpose under heaven has a time.

There are times, there are days,
Weeks and months we cannot understand God’s ways.
If for years we fail to scan
What is his eternal plan,
We’ll remember that He can, all the time.

The Christ in Christmas

I wonder how many of us will get Christmas cards with the two different terms on them 1. Merry Christmas and 2. Happy Xmas.

According to the dictionary the meaning of Merry Christmas is: The real meaning of “Merry Christmas” is, to be full of absolute joy because God Himself, knowing none of us could *ever* get free of sin ourselves, provided the way for our salvation. It is only through God that we can obtain Holiness because none of us are able to cleanse ourselves to the point of pleasing God.

Whereas Xmas (also X-mas) is a common abbreviation of the word Christmas. It is sometimes pronounced, but Xmas, and variants such as Xtemass, originated as handwriting abbreviations for the typical pronunciation. The “X” comes from the Greek letter Chi, which is the first letter of the Greek word Christós (Χριστός), which became Christ in English. The suffix -mas is from the Latin-derived Old English word for Mass.

Personally I prefer the first one of the two

A lot of kids these days are brought up to believe that Santa and toys are ” The reason for the season” We must remember as Christians that Jesus is ” The reason for the season”

Christ Like

1 Corinthians 11New International Version

11 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

I do my best thinking whilst in the shower and just recently my thought was ‘How many of us are real practicing Christians?’ It doesn’t matter what Church you attend because you get them in every church, and I’m talking about the Christians that are nice to your face, sing the hymns read the bible message and listen to the preacher, but when they get home and out of their Sunday best their a different person. Christianity doesn’t stop the minute you get back from church on Sunday, no part of being a Christian is doing good deeds for others without wanting praise or a thanks for it. 

Christianity doesn’t stop the minute you get back from church on Sunday, it’s the little things we do each day, each week, that mark us out as living Godly lives. A Christian does good deeds for others without wanting praise or thanks for it.

Are you living a Christlike life? Are you showing that to your family, friends and neighbours? If not, then perhaps this is the time to do something about it. If you need to speak to someone my advice is aproach your minister/Pastor or a good friend That you can really trust or fellow Christian that will keep your conversation private.

As the ISS sing Christ in me, I ask you to listen to the words, especially verse three. ‘All my life wilt thou control, calmly ordering the whole, That the world may ever see Christ in me’. Once again if you are in need of help stop what your doing and pray, pray for help and guidance.

Receiving the Saviour

Acts 2:41
Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

I came across this video awhile ago and thought not was it not only a beautiful tune, but the way it was being was beautiful. We also have beautiful lyrics to  accompany the arrangement and how true they are. It’s a plea that if you have lost your way on  your Christian journey to let him back in.See the source image

The Saviour is waiting to enter your heart,
Why don’t you let Him come in?
There’s nothing in this world to keep you apart,
What is your answer to Him?

Time after time He has waited before,
And now He is waiting again
To see if you’re willing to open the door:
O how He wants to come in.

If you’ll take one step toward the Saviour, my friend,
You’ll find His arms open wide;
Receive Him, and all of your darkness will end,
Within your heart He’ll abide.

Time after time He has waited before,
And now He is waiting again
To see if you’re willing to open the door:
O how He wants to come in.

Playing Church

I would like to dedecate this post especially the song to a fellow blogger, Caralyn beautybeyondbones.com

Come, let’s worship him and bow down. Let’s kneel before the LORD who made us, because he is our God and we are the people he takes care of and the sheep that he tends. Psalm 95: 6-7, NCV

After seeing a poster on facebook about Playing Church I was prompted to look up the internet and find out what the bible said about it only to come up with this fascinating story.

“When I was a little girl, I loved to play church with my friends. We would line chairs up in rows and pull out a cardboard box we used for the pulpit. Then the great debate began over who would preach and who would sing. The more aggressive kids wanted the up-front jobs while the quiet ones were happy to just sit and watch the “show”. Sometimes one of the kids would pretend to be the Holy Ghost walking around the chairs saying “Boo!” If the leaders did a good job, we would play church for hours. However, if they were not entertaining enough, the kids in the chairs would soon get bored and go in search of more exciting recreation in the front yard. All in all, playing the church game was great fun and a delightful way to pass an afternoon.”

Whilst there are many people who Play this game let us remind ourselves of the woman who was dramatically changed as the result of experiencing true worship. Her amazing story is found in Luke 7:36-50:

“Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is–that she is a sinner.” Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. “Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said. Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven–for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.” Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (NIV)

Compelling Love

1 Corinthians 8 11-13

For through your knowledge he who is weak is ruined, the brother for whose sake Christ died. And so, by sinning against the brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble.

I really don’t think i have to say much in this blog today because I think the words and especially the video speak for themselves. As we look at the video we thank not just The Salvation Army for the work they do in the poorer countries but also organisations such as Christian Aid, Oxfam Bernardos etc, the list is endless. Finally I would ask you to pray for the families affected in these

countries.See the source image

Compelled by love,
Called to serve
Wherever there are souls in need.
Compelled by love,
Called to find the lonely
And the lost.
Touched by God’s grace,
I’ll love where hearts are hurting.
How can I offer less than all
When I am born again by his forgiving?
I’m compelled by love.

Compelled by love,
Called to toil
Wherever there are mouths to feed.
Compelled by love,
Called to work where life is at its worst.
Moved by God’s grace,
I’ll prove that I am willing.
How can I offer less than all
When his love fills my heart,
My spirit thrilling?
I’m compelled by love.

Compelled by love,
Called to follow Christ
No matter where he leads.
Compelled by love,
Called to give and not to count the cost.
Filled with God’s grace,
I’ll lead a life worth living.
How can I offer less than all
When I am made anew by his infilling?
His love calls me, his love claims me,
I’m compelled by love.