Time to cut the Christmas tree.
Not only will we have one of the biggest, bushiest, greenest and nicest-smelling trees around, but we’ll also be doing our part to improve the ranch land. For the past 36 years, an intruding red cedar has annually been sawed down in the pasture, put in a stand, decorated with lights, ornaments and an angel on top to become our Christmas tree.
Merchandizing Christmas trees was always our main job during the holiday season growing up in the grocery store. Originally, we sold only fir trees. Varying from three-to-eight-feet in height, each size would come tightly bundled in lots of six. Shortest ones were sold for 98 cents, and the tallest trees were over $5.
Trees were displayed in front of the store, where we’d assist customers in selection. It’s a major job picking the right Christmas tree. Our own tree went up two weeks before Christmas, and we always had one that reached the ceiling. Just a few trees were left at the store by Christmas Eve, and those were given to some folks who couldn’t afford one.
Then pine trees came and changed the business. Harder to handle and higher in price, long needle and Scotch pines soon eliminated firs. Next were imitation trees, first silver metal ones, and then artificial green resemblances. We just heard those plastic ones are hazardous to the health, and specialists are again recommending the real thing.
Odd thing about Christmas trees: Jesus didn’t have one, and it was his birthday celebration. Yet, Jesus was closely related to trees. There was Adam’s tree of knowledge at the beginning of time, and the tree on which our Christ died for the salvation of all.
Many legends are told about Christmas trees. One of the fir tree and Christianity began 10 centuries ago, when St. Boniface came across pagans worshiping an oak tree. In anger, he cut the tree, and a fir tree grew, which he took as a sign of faith.
Martin Luther is credited with putting candles on trees decorated with roses, apples and paper. The Christmas tree was not widely used until the 19thcentury when brought to America by Germans in the 1820s. Because there are no biblical ties specifically to Christmas trees, some call incorporating them into the season paganism and idolatry.
Better to remember these symbolisms: evergreen, eternal life; tree, knowledge and the cross; ornaments, beautiful things Jesus did; star, guided wise men to Bethlehem; angels, announced Christ’s birth; lights, Jesus brightened the world; colored ornaments, God created the round earth and the Gospel for all people; and tinsel,
generosity and kindness.
With bright Christmas trees and lights twinkling in the evergreens behind the nativity, let us reflect why Jesus Christ was born. In Saint John 5:24, Jesus said: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that hear my word, and believe in him that sent me, hath everlasting
life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”