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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Christmas the Great Inclusion; PART SEVEN

Christmas; The Great Inclusin
Part seven - The Tree

Our most popular modern Christmas tradition is decorating everything. We’ve got to have tinsel, bows, bright colored paper plastered everything. And if that isn’t enough, we string lights made in China to waste countless kilowatt hours powered by fossil fuels.

It all started with the Christmas tree.

The Christmas tree has no connection to the birth of Jesus. In fact, trees have long been gone from the holy lands. A tree relegated to decoration would have been something of a luxury methinks. Two of the priceless gifts presented to the baby Jesus according to the gospels were myrrh and frankincense. Both of these products were produced from tree sap and were used as incense. Tree sap valuable? You know why? They didn’t have many trees. Now, this sap truly was special!

In the seventh century, a monk from Crediton, Devonshire, traveled to Germany to preach. Much of his time was spent in Thuringia spreading the gospel. The people there revered the oak tree for all the reasons great oaks are admired. It was old, it was strong, it was a virul symbol of life. Our monk friend used the idea of an evergreen to convey teachings of the holy trinity. A cut fir was triangular in shape and in his discourses, the three points of the triangle represented the three personages of the godhead.

It took 5 hundred years for the idea to catch on, but by the 12th century, fir trees were being hung upside down every where in Europe at Christmas time. Yes, the gift of the monk was to take a long standing tradition of respect for the living mighty oak and turn it into a frenzy for killing trees and hanging them upside down.

But this was not all that the monk left to us. Decorating the trees became popular at some point… .and his work came to great financial reward to Thuringia which soon became the greatest manufacturer of decorations in the world. Until they learned of outsourcing.

The message of our monk was devised to include the Germans into his faith. It unintentionally became a strong tradition which we enjoy with fervor today.

Deck the halls! Kill a tree!

Copyright 2006 by Cindi Jones RSS feeds are allowed

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