Christmas Trees

by Jason Wright

 
A friend asked me why we have Christmas Trees, when there's no mention of it in the bible. I found this answer in "A Browsers Book of Beginnings".
Thought it might make an interesting item for the BMPC webpage.

-- Jase

Christmas Tree: 8th Century, Germany

The custom of a Christmas tree, undecorated, is believed to have begun in Germany, in the first half of the 700's.

The earliest story relates how British monk and missionary St. Boniface was preaching a sermon on the Nativity to a tribe of Gremanic Druids outside the town of Geismar. To convince the idolators that the oak tree was not sacred and inviolable, the "Apostle of Germany" felled one on the spot. Toppling, it crushed every shrub in its path except for a small fir sapling. A chance event can lead itself to numerous interpretations, and legend has it that Boniface, attempting to win converts, interpreted the fir's survival as a miracle, concluding, "Let this be called the tree of the Christ Child." Subsequent Christmases in Germany were celebrated by planting fir saplings.

We do know with greater authority that by the sixteenth century, fir trees, indoors and out, were decorated to commemorate Christmas in Germany. A forest ordinance from Ammerschweier, Alsace, dated 1561, states that "no burgher shall have for Christmas more than one bush of more than eight shoes' length." The decorations hung on a tree in that time, the earliest we have evidence of, were "roses cut of many colored paper, apples, wafers, gilt, sugar."

It is a widely held belief that Martin Luther, the sixteenth-century Protestant reformer, first added lighted candles to a tree. Walking toward his home one winter evening, composing a sermon, he was awed by the brilliance of stars twinkling amidst evergreens. To recapture the scene for his family, he erected a tree in the main room and wired its branches with lighted candles.




Posted on Dec 7, 1999, 10:00 AM

Respond to this message

Goto Forum Home

Find more forums on SpiritualityCreate your own forum at Network54
 Copyright © 1999-2014 Network54. All rights reserved.   Terms of Use   Privacy Statement