December 7, 2014

Oh, Christmas Tree

“I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. I will put in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive; I will set in the desert the cypress, the plane and the pine together, so that all may see and know, all may consider and understand, that the hand of the LORD has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it.” -Isaiah 41:18-20

The use of evergreens has not always been a Christian tradition. It originated as a Pagan tradition during winter solstice celebrations, when evergreen branches were hung as a reminder that green plants would grow again, and that summer would return. In many countries it was believed that the evergreens boughs hung over doors and windows would protect from illness and evil spirits. Many different cultures throughout history have used greens during the winter solstice to represent a variety of things. The Egyptians used green palms to decorate their homes as a symbol of the triumph of life over death. Romans hung boughs to represent the coming of a fruitful season. Druids, priests of ancient Celts, used evergreens as a symbol of everlasting life, which is the meaning of the symbol Christians use today.

This week, as we try to live into the story Christ’s birth, consider what the Christmas tree symbolizes in your own home. Maybe it represents time with your family, the blessing of friends, or the beauty of Jesus’ coming into the world. Maybe you relate to the idea of evergreens representing eternal life, or the promise of God making all things new. Take time to consider how the Christmas story shapes your own Christmas traditions. Below is a Christmas tree blessing that you can use on your own, or with friends and family. You can also use it as a guideline to write your own tree blessing.

Christmas Tree Blessing (excerpt from Seamless Faith by Traci Smith)

God who created the birds in the air, the fish in the sea, the stars in the sky, and the trees in the ground, bless this tree and make it a joyful symbol in our home. May its branches remind us of the shade and shelter you provide for us and for many creatures. May its trunk remind us of your strength. May its light bring us peace. May we remember your gift to us this season, the gift of the baby Jesus. Amen.

Your sister in Christ,

Liz Hinz
Family and Senior Ministries