CHRISTMAS - the tree

Frugality is on the lips of everyone this year. Christmas trees of the real variety offered in the shops seem to be much smaller than in other years. Abandoning any idea of having a tall perfectly proportioned Nordic fir, we have opted for a total reject. By that I mean, we found a discarded, vertically challenged, unwanted and worthless, wonky conifer in a broken pot. (I assure you that that this plant, whilst pretending for all its worth to live up to the name of ‘tree’ has no particular significance for us, other than mere decorative accoutrement for the festive season – and it didn’t cost us a penny!)

 Around the world, Christmas is celebrated in different ways, with different customs and traditions. In the U.K. an indoor tree, fake or fir, is by far the most popular decoration. Germany boasts of beginning this idea. Also, it is thought by some that Martin Luther started the custom of placing lighted candles on an indoor tree. Whilst out walking one dark night, he was amazed by seeing all the twinkling stars peeping through evergreen branches. When he arrived home, he brought in a tree to which he attached lighted candles so that his family could imagine what he had seen that night. (Whether that is true or not, it is a nice story!)

 Oliver Cromwell was not a fan of trees or carols because of heathen associations but Queen Victoria and her beloved Prince Albert popularised what we now call the Christmas tree after they were pictured near theirs in the Illustrated London News.

 But Christians look beyond the Christmas celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ to Easter and His death and resurrection. Why did He come?  Because He loves us and to be the way to bring us sinners back to Himself.

‘…the Father has sent His Son to be the Saviour of the world’ 1 John 4:14

John Newton, the converted slave captain wrote:

‘In evil long I took delight

Unawed by shame or fear,

Till a new object struck my sight,

And stopped my wild career.


I saw One hanging on a tree,

In agonies and blood,

Who fixed his languid eyes on me,

As near his cross I stood.


Sure never till my latest breath

Can I forget that look;

It seemed to charm me with His death,

Though not a word he spoke.


My conscience felt and owned the guilt,

And plunged me in despair;

 I saw my sins his blood had spilt,

And helped to nail him there.


A second look he gave, which said,

‘I freely all forgive;

This blood is for thy ransom paid;

I die that thou may’st live.’