Tuesday, January 5, 2021
The Christmas Tree?
Pointing to the Light
and the Wonders All Around
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
Words of Grace For Today
On this the last day of Christmas for this season, the Christmas Tree comes to mind again, as many prepare to (or already have) remove(d) it from the home. The decorations, reminders perhaps of friends who have given them as gifts in years past, are packed away, the star or angel on top brought down, and the lights carefully removed and coiled up for storage. Again: what is the meaning of all this in relation to what Christmas really is about?
Again from Wikipedia: The Christmas tree is considered by some as Christianisation of pagan tradition and ritual surrounding the Winter Solstice, which included the use of evergreen boughs, and an adaptation of pagan tree worship; according to eighth-century biographer Æddi Stephanus, Saint Boniface (634–709), who was a missionary in Germany, took an axe to an oak tree dedicated to Thor and pointed out a fir tree, which he stated was a more fitting object of reverence because it pointed to heaven and it had a triangular shape, which he said was symbolic of the Trinity.
While the challenges, losses, and joys of the coming days, weeks, months and years await us, we know (if we’ve been awake and alert at all) that we will many times need to be pointed back to Christ as the source of life for us, abundant life. When we remember from whom our very breath comes, and from whom all blessings flow over us, then we can live filled with gratitude. Filled with gratitude we can amend our lives to serve Christ more: we can ensure all people receive the requirements for life, abundant life.
Whatever and however we’ve kept Christmas this year, carrying on past traditions, adapting old traditions, creating new traditions: few if any of our traditions contain in themselves the essence of Christmas. It is in knowing how our traditions express, inform and strengthen our faith that we encounter the Christ, again and again, anew.
For that we may well adopt a tradition, if not this year, then next, where we gather together and, pointing to each item and pointing out each event of our traditions, we provide a short comment on that tradition’s history passed on to us, and how we have adopted it for ourselves to reflect the Light of the World.
Therein we can also proclaim again: Surely goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our lives, and we shall dwell in the house of the Lord our whole lives long.