Posted by: Cathi Brese Doebler | December 15, 2015

Why a Christmas Tree?

In my last post I wrote about where the Christmas tradition of presents came from. Today’s post focuses on…

Christmas Tree Tradition

A very popular Christmas tradition is the Christmas tree. We set it up each year, decorating it with ornaments that bring memories and smiles, and lights to add beauty to the tree. Then we top it off with a star or an angel. It is a perfect spot to place our gifts with their colorful wrappings. It adds to the festivity of our living room or foyer. But it comes from so much more, and it can teach so much more.

Martin Luther used the shape of the Christmas tree to teach about the idea of the Trinity. People in his day didn’t have copies of their own Bibles in their own language, so one of his contributions to our world was to translate the Bible into the language of the people he lived near…so that they could begin to read the Bible on their own rather than simply rely on priests to read it to them. Martin Luther, who had been educated as a monk, knew the Bible and could teach it as well. When he taught people about the Trinity, he used the evergreen tree.

The Trinity is God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and those three are one. Confusing, right? How can three be one? Well, Martin Luther explained that when you look at an evergreen tree (like the traditional Christmas tree) you see three points (two sides and one point at the top). The shape of the tree has three points, yet it is still only one tree. He explained that the Trinity has three within in it: God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. All three are one, yet all three have different ways of connecting with us. Doesn’t that bring more meaning into the tree you bring into your home each Christmas season?

The last two posts have information on just two of the traditions that connect back many years, but there are certainly more. My hope for you is that this Christmas season, you see the connection to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and His miraculous birth rather than just baubles and toys, stockings and snow. Celebrating Christmas is a wonderful experience, and there is nothing wrong with gifts and trees. The hope I have, however, is that you will see Jesus’s light within it all.

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