• Father Martin

The Christian meaning of the Christmas tree (English Article)


From the middle of September in some spaces of the department stores, they begin to expose the Christmas decorations of this year. Although there is still a long way to go before the celebration of Christmas, it is necessary that you know the meaning of the Christmas tree and the elements that compose it, before you do your shopping.

The most traditional decorations of the Christmas tree are:

Star: Generally placed at the top of the tree, it represents the faith that should guide the life of the Christian, remembering the star that guided the Magi to Bethlehem.

Spheres: At first Saint Boniface decorated the tree with apples, representing temptations with them. Today, it is customary to place balls or spheres, which symbolize the gifts of God to men.

Ties: Traditionally ties represent the union of families and loved ones around gifts that you want to give and receive.

Lights: At first candles, represent the light of Christ.

A little history:

The ancient Germans believed that the world and all the stars were supported by hanging from the branches of a gigantic tree called the "divine Idrasil" or the "god Odin." At each winter solstice, when life was supposed to be renewed, they worshiped it.

The celebration of that day consisted of decorating an oak tree with torches that represented the stars, the moon and the sun. Around this tree, they danced and sang worshiping their god.

They say that Saint Boniface, evangelizer of Germany and England, knocked down the tree that represented the god Odin, and in the same place he planted a pine, a symbol of God's perennial love, and decorated it with apples and candles, giving it a Christian symbolism: apples. they represented temptations, original sin, and the sins of men; the candles represented Christ, the light of the world and the grace received by men who accept Jesus as Savior. This custom spread throughout Europe in the Middle Ages and with the conquests and migrations, it reached America.

Little by little, the tradition evolved: apples were exchanged for spheres and candles for lamps that represent the joy and light that Jesus Christ brought to the world.

The spheres and their colors currently symbolize the prayers we make during the Advent period:

Blue Spheres: Symbolize prayers of repentance

Silver Spheres: Prayers of Thanks

Golden Spheres: Prayers of Praise

Red Spheres: Prayers of petition

It is customary to put a star on the top of the pine tree that represents the faith that should guide our lives.

The Christmas tree is also usually decorated with various figures. These represent the good deeds and sacrifices, the "gifts" that we will give to Jesus at Christmas.

To take advantage of tradition: Decorate the Christmas tree throughout Advent, explaining each symbolism to the children. Children can make their own spheres (24-28, depending on the days of Advent) with a prayer or purpose in each one. As the days go by, they are hung on the Christmas tree until Christmas Eve.

(Sources: Catholic.Net and PrimerosCristianos.Wordpress.com)




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