At this time of year, the winter solstice, cultures that lived before the coming of Christ celebrated the coming of the sun. And it is no coincidence that Christians celebrate the coming of the Son at the same time of the year.
As with many religious feasts, festivals and celebrations, Christmas is full of symbols. One of the most popular symbols of Christmas is the tree and evergreens in general such as holly. The use of the tree to celebrate Christmas has roots that pre-date the coming of Christ.
The Egyptians decorated their homes with green palm leaves during the time of the winter solstice. The Romans also celebrated the winter solstice with greenery and even exchanged gifts. The people of Scandavia spoke of Yggrdrasil, the Tree of Life, a great ash tree at the center of the universe. Germanic tribes presented sacrifices at Thor’s Oak. Another Christmas tradition we have inherited from the Germanic tribes is the burning of the Yule log.
Tradition has it that Saint Boniface (672 – 754), in order to show the superiority of his God over those of the Germanic tribes, had Thor’s Oak chopped down. When Thor didn’t rain lightning down upon the Saint, the people converted to Christianity. When a fir tree grew out of the roots of the oak, Boniface claimed the evergreen as a new symbol of his everlasting God.
It was not until the 16th century that trees were brought indoors at Christmas time. Martin Luther (1483-1546) is credited with adding lights to the tree.
If you’d like to read more about the Christmas tree, follow the link below:
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!