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Author: Subject: Christmas Trees
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[*] Post 311678 posted on 11-12-2007 at 03:20 Reply With Quote
Christmas Trees



Can anybody explain the "Religious" significance of Christmas Trees, and Christmas tree decorations????


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[*] Post 311682 posted on 11-12-2007 at 04:19 Reply With Quote


Quote:
It was a cold winter's afternoon in the dense German forest, Martin Luther did not notice the sun slowly setting and the sky growing dark. His thoughts were on the sermon he was preparing. The forest soon came alive with the night sounds of owls, wolves, and other wild creatures.

Martin Luther shivered. He pulled his cloak tighter around his shoulders. Then he quickened hi space. saying a little prayer for comfort as he went.

The forest grew darker. Martin Luther scurried along, continuing to pray that he would not cross paths with a wild animal. He glanced up to see the night sky filled with tiny pricks of light, twinkling blue and silver. What could they be?

"Stars!" Martin Luther said suddenly, as he realized what he was seeing "Lights from Heaven to guide and comfort me, just as a star led the Wise Men to the stable that first Christmas. What a splendid theme for a sermon."

Martin Luther smiled up at the twinkling sky. He was no longer afraid.

Feeling safer, Martin Luther looked around for a small three he could take home for Christmas. He found a young fir tree, pulled up, and dragged it with him through the forest.

At long last Martin Luther was safe at home. He quickly prepared the little fir tree, hoping to surprise his family.

"Hmmm," he said, as he noticed the triangle shaped candle holder on the table by the window.

Soon Martin Luther called his family in, so he could tell them about his long walk through the dark and dangerous forest. Everyone gasped at the sight of the little fir tree, for it was customary to hang Christmas trees upside-down from the ceiling beams and leave them undecorated. Yet, Martin Luther had placed this little tree upright in a pot, high on a table. The candles had been removed from the triangle shaped holder. Now, as the very first Christmas tree lights, they flickered from the tree's delicate branches - just as the stars had flickered through the forest to guide Martin Luther.

The family gathered around as Martin Luther told them what had happened earlier that evening.

"Just as I was getting very frightened, I saw the stars twinkling through the trees as if God was saying, 'Don't be afraid, for I am with you.' And that's when I realized the theme for my sermon, God's light shines through the darkest night for everyone, but sometimes we have to look up to see it."
Suzanne Lieurance's account, as found on the Junto Society's website.

Historians widely doubt that this happened, as described, because there is a lack of evidence for the tradition prevailing until after Luther's time. It is a much-repeated story.
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[*] Post 311684 posted on 11-12-2007 at 04:38 Reply With Quote


More, from another page on the same site (same author)
Quote:
Papa shook the snow from his scarf as he entered the doorway of the warm and cozy little house. Once inside he laid a small pine tree next to the door. Gretchen's face lit up when she spotted the tree. "Papa! Our Christmas Tree?" Papa pulled off his scarf and coat. "Yes, this is our Christmas tree," he said. Gretchen's eyes sparkled. "where shall we put it?" she asked. Mama looked up from the table where she was working with bits of colored paper, apples and wafers.

Gretchen danced around the room. "it's almost Christmas," she said. "Shouldn't we decorate the tree?"

"Of course", said mama. "help me with these cuttings."

Gretchen plopped down at the table. Mama patiently showed her how to shape colored paper into beautiful hearts, roses, flowers, angels and bells. Papa warmed himself by the fire as Mama and Gretchen fashioned lots of lovely, delicate ornaments.

"Why do we have Christmas trees? asked Gretchen. "Who had the first one?"

Papa rubbed his beard and he spoke, "It's a custom. A custom that started long, long ago, right here in Germany.

"The first Christmas trees were not decorated at all," said Mama. "And they weren't pine trees."

"That's right," said Papa. "Long, long ago, in the 700's, a monk named Boniface chopped down an oak tree. He was angry because people thought the oak was sacred and he wanted to show them they were wrong."

Gretchen frowned, "So an oak was the first Christmas Tree?" she asked.

"No, no," said Mama. "Let Papa finish his story."

"When the oak fell, it crushed everything in its path," said Papa. "Everything, that is, except a small fir sapling. Boniface said the survival of the little sapling was a miracle. So for many years after, people planted fir saplings to celebrate Christmas. They didn't bring trees inside and decorate them as we do now."

Mama stood up, "And now it's time to decorate this tree," she said.

Papa lifted the little pine onto the table by the window. Then he and Mama hung all the pretty paper cuttings, along with bright red apples and delicate wafers, from the pine's spindly branches.

When they finished, Gretchen stood back to admire it all. "What a beautiful custom, she said. Then she knelt before the window, folded her hands, and looked toward the sky. "Thank you Boniface, for giving us that very first Christmas Tree."
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