Trees festively decorated with lights and ornaments are an exciting reminder that Christmas is just around the corner. But where did this tradition originate, and how has it become one of the most iconic symbols of the season?
Though now a cheerful display of the Christmas season, these trees have not always been a Christian-related symbol. This tradition actually began in ancient times. Many people groups, including the Romans, would bring pieces of fir trees into their home for decoration, as well as pieces of holly and mistletoe. Because these are some of the few winter blooming greeneries, they were seen as symbols of fertility and new life.
Early Christmas trees were actually hung upside down and suspended from the ceiling. Some who couldn’t afford a tree, would build pyramids from wood to look like trees, and decorate them with paper, apples, and candles.
No one is completely sure of how the Christmas tree became a Christian symbol. However, there are several stories and legends. One such story claims that the first to bring a Christmas tree into a home, was Martin Luther. While walking through the forest one night, he looked up through the trees and saw the beautifully starlit sky. He told his family it reminded him of Jesus, who left the heavens to come to earth.
The Bible says in Hebrews 13:8 that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” As we see evergreen trees during the Christmas season, we are reminded that Jesus is alive forever. He came to earth as a baby over 2000 years ago, and died on a cross to save us from our sins if we accept Him as our Savior. Then, three days later, He rose again, and now lives in Heaven. As you see Christmas trees around you this season, let it be a reminder of what Jesus did for us and why we celebrate Christmas.