Word for Word 12/28/22

Pastor Abraham Faugstad
Pastor Abraham Faugstad

The Christmas Tree

Have you ever wondered why we put up Christmas trees? Most people love Christmas trees. However, very few know its history or the purpose behind Christmas trees. And so, I thought I would share some information with you so that you may learn to understand and appreciate your Christmas tree a little more.

The most prominent and the most popular Christmas symbol of them all is the Christmas Tree. Tradition has it that it comes to us from Germany. The story goes that Martin Luther was outside walking in the countryside, spellbound by the scent of fir trees and the twinkling of bright stars overhead. To share some of that wonder with his family, Luther cut down one of those firs and brought it home to Wittenberg. On Christmas Eve, to enhance its beauty, he decorated it with strings of fruit and nuts and with lighted candles to represent the stars. Under it Luther positioned a carved wooden manger including the figures of Mary, Joseph, and the Child along with various animals. Around the tree Luther and his children sang his famous Christmas carol, “From Heaven Above to Earth I Come.”

The first Christmas tree displayed in a church in America was in Cleveland, Ohio. It was introduced in 1851 by a Lutheran Pastor, Henry Schwan. The custom reached national status in 1856 when President Pierce first decorated a tree in the White House.

Often the Christmas tree becomes just another part of the glitter and glam of Christmas. Let’s learn about the real meaning of the Christmas tree so that it may be a proper part of our Christmas traditions as we celebrate the birth of our Savior.

THE TREE reminds us of sin, for Adam and Eve sinned by eating the fruit of the forbidden tree. It also reminds us of our Savior, for it was on the tree of the cross that Jesus died for our sins in our place and won eternal life for us.

THE TREE POINTS HEAVENWARD reminding us that Jesus came from heaven on that first Christmas to be our Savior from sin and death. He came down to earth to take on our suffering, sin, and death to bring us to heaven.

THE LIGHTS on our tree remind us that Jesus is the light of the world. He came to save us from the darkness of sin.

THE DECORATIONS remind us of the beauty of the crown of everlasting life we have through faith in our Savior, Jesus Christ.

THE EVERGREEN TREE is always green. This reminds us that the gift of life Jesus came to give is everlasting.

THE GIFTS placed under the tree remind us of the great gift of eternal life that God gives us through faith in Jesus.

THE STAR/ANGEL ON THE TOP reminds us of the message of the angel to the shepherds. “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior who is Christ the Lord.”

May the real meaning of the Christmas tree be a blessing to you and your families this Christmas, as we rejoice at the good tidings of great joy that unto you a Savior is born, who would suffer and die on the tree of the cross, and rise again on the third day, so that we might be forgiven and have the hope of everlasting life! Merry Christmas!

Pastor Abraham Faugstad
King of Grace Lutheran Church, Waukon
Trinity Lutheran Church, Calmar