Christmas Tree Station

Instructions

Notice the fresh, evergreen pine being put to the purpose of holding brightly coloured baubles to celebrate Christmas. Notice the smell of real pine tree. Hang a decoration on the tree and make your own contribution to this display of the joy of Christmas.

Reflection

The people of Israel will have nothing more to do with idols; I will answer their prayers and take care of them. Like an evergreen tree I will shelter them; I am the source of all their blessings. Hosea 14:8

Simple

What does evergreen pine tree remind us of about God and the life that’s available to us through Jesus?

The beauty of a Christmas tree is only possible with the many, many different decorations. Each one is different, unique in its own style and placement; each one is important. Reflect on how you, in your own unique and wonderful way, add something to the body of Christ (the church).

Go deeper

For hundreds, even thousands of years, humans have used evergreen trees to decorate spaces as part of seasonal celebrations. While the exact history of the Christmas tree being used in the Christian celebration of Christmas is unknown, there are some stories from the history of followers of Jesus that make our practice of decorating a tree at Christmas a rich and meaningful one.

In the 8th Century, a British missionary called Winfrith (later known by the name Saint Boniface) went to Germany to share the gospel with the pagan Saxon people. The story goes that Winfrith came across a huge, ancient oak tree that was considered to be sacred to the god Thor and interrupted a ritual where a young boy was to be sacrificed. Winfrith attacked the tree with an axe in defiance of the power and authority of the pagan gods. Possibly with the help of miraculous supernatural power, the tree crashed to the ground without Winfrith needing to apply much effort. The event convinced locals of the truth of the gospel and many thousands were baptised in the area. They built a chapel from the fallen oak and it is said that Winfrith cut down a small fir sapling and placed it in the chapel as a symbol of the birth of Jesus and the beginning of his reign among the formerly heathen German people.

Another Christmas-tree origin story, has it that in the 16th century the great church reformer Martin Luther was on a walk at night and saw the stars though the evergreen trees. He went home to tell his children that it reminded him of Jesus. He later wrote a sermon about the experience for his church, leading to the spread of people decorating the trees with candles as a symbol of letting Jesus into their homes.

Whatever the exact history, these majestic and beautiful creations of God remind us of the eternal, never-ending nature of God. They also remind us of the birth and resurrection of Jesus, who made abundant life, like the life coursing year-round through these trees, available for us as his followers.

Take some time to reflect on Jesus as the way to eternal and abundant life, for yourself and as the hope and light to the world.