Something that troubles me today is the recount of how "all things Christian" are often attributed to pagan beginnings. Take the Christmas tree for example.
The legend of the first Christmas tree goes something like this:
The "Apostle to the Germans", Winfrid, also called Saint Boniface, was sent as a missionary to Germany. Around 723 he was said to have happened upon a pagan ceremony where a young boy was to be sacrificed at the foot of "a holy oak tree" . In his anger, Boniface took an axe to their oak. With pagans looking on, he called on their god, Thor, to strike him down if he cut their so called holy tree. Of course, the impotent god did not strike Boniface dead and it is said that he won some hearts for The Kingdom based on this display. He is also said to have used the wood from the oak to build a chapel at the site. So, where does the Christmas tree come in? Well, legend has it that a little fir tree grew in the roots of the felled oak and was claimed by Boniface as a symbol for Christ. He cut in down and told the others to do the same and to place it in their homes.
"This humble tree's wood is used to build your homes: let Christ be at the centre of your households. Its leaves remain evergreen in the darkest days: let Christ be your constant light. Its boughs reach out to embrace and its top points to heaven: let Christ be your comfort and guide.”
Did Boniface call on a symbol familiar to the pagans to reach them on their level? Perhaps.
And, yes I know that tree worship was very common and very important among the ancients and that the evergreen tree represented eternal life, rebirth and replenishment during the long winter months.
I don't live under a rock.
But let us not forget who created those trees long worshiped by the pagans! God was here before the world began. Above all the wisdom and ways of man, He was here before the world was even created. And, He made the trees! Evergreen trees and all other trees were perfectly created on the third day, by our loving God and placed on the Earth to serve many purposes for us. For us! He created them for us. Beautiful to behold, they provide shade and shelter, food and clean air. For His purposes, regardless of what man would later do!
So take or leave the legend of Boniface and the Christmas tree. That is up to you. I'm sure you can go looking for all sorts of stories about ideas of where Christmas trees came from and how trees were once a part of pagan traditions. But, don't tell me about it. The evergreen tree was here before the pagans, and it has long served to point us to the Mighty Creator. My Christmas tree serves as a symbol of Christ for me and my family.
A Post Within A Post
I decided that now would be a good time to show you what pre-Christmas activities look like at our house! We have been very busy, but I have caught some of it on film.
Then they had a wrestling match!
'Cause that is what friends do around the Christmas tree!
Next it was off to The Festival of Lights. No, not a Hanukkah celebration. One of those light shows where you drive around and look at a gazillion lights and think, "boy I'm glad I'm not paying that electric bill!" Claire oooooohed and ahhhhhhed.
A posed for pictures here!
We roasted marshmallow
And, ate them!
And rode the carousel!
Then we had some company in the form of cousins from out-of-town.
Presents were exchanged!
And fun was had by all!
Today we will have a family lunch, go to church to watch our towns people, finish watching It's A Wonderful Life and watch The Nativity....while we eat the all-natural kettle corn our wonderful neighbors-who-know-me-so-well sent over for us!
Then we will tuck our sweet babies into their beds and enjoy the peace and quiet...for a few hours!
*check back later for a special Christmas Eve post*