How to represent the gospel in the Christmas tree tradition

Copyright by Bob Rogers.

Photo by Kristina Paukshtite on Pexels.com

The Christmas tree tradition originated in Germany, apparently from several traditions, some pagan, some Christian. Some German towns brought an evergreen tree to the town square on Christmas Eve, set it on fire, and danced around it. Later these towns put lighted candles on Christmas trees. Other Germans remembered Adam and Eve’s fall into sin by hanging apples on an evergreen, and then hanging wafers for the bread of Christ in the Lord’s Supper, and candles on the tree for Jesus as the light of the world. As the feast of Adam and Eve was on December 24, this also became associated with Christmas. These traditions merged into the Christmas tree as we know it today.

A tree is mentioned by the prophet Isaiah when foretelling the coming of the Christ. Jesus, our Messiah, is prophesied in Isaiah 11:1 as the descendant of Jesse, father of King David: “Then a shoot will grow from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit.” This “tree” also died on a tree for us: “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that, having died to sins, we might live for righteousness; you have been healed by His wounds.” (1 Peter 2:24). That tree was the cross, where Jesus took our sins. So today, we can let the Christmas tree represent the gospel by putting Christian symbols on the tree, such as an angel or star on top, a manger scene underneath. Some Christians put a nail with a purple ribbon on the tree, reminding us that Jesus, the king of kings, was nailed to the tree of Calvary for us.

About Bob Rogers

Hospital chaplain in Mississippi. Adjunct history professor (online). Formerly a pastor for 33 years in Mississippi and Georgia. Avid cyclist.

Posted on December 1, 2021, in Christian Living and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. It’s always great to reflect on why we do things that may have been passed to us through the generations. Non-Christian family & friends always seem to point out the “pagan” aspects of Christianity; but the Bible is not pagan, and I always mention that they need to sit down and read it to get the full picture.

  2. Thank you for your comment! I agree!

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