As the leftover Thanksgiving turkey is down to turkey salad, Christmas decorations are hauled from the closets. Boxes, cartons and plastic bins hold memories, treasures and herald the coming holiday. The last plastic bin was rifled through hoping to reveal perky Christmas towels. There on the bottom, as if an afterthought was a sheet of typed, well copied paper from Keflavik Naval Air Station's PWOC about Christmas tree history. A paper reminder of good times, great ladies, strong values: military spouses of all services and NATO nations.
Christmas Tree History
Since the earliest days of the bringing of evergreens indoors at Christmastime has been one of the first ways of giving the home a festive flair. Before Christianity was introduced to Northern Europe, people brought evergreens into their homes in winter because of their profound reverence for nature. This gave them the ability to bring the world of nature indoors. They also believed that good spirits lived in the trees that would ward the custom of bringing evergreen trees and branches into the home was retained. The use of evergreen was so loosely associated with the pagan days that they were forbidden in many of the early churches. It was not until the sixteenth century that Christian homes were commonly decorated. The evergreen tree is a symbol of Christ's unchanging, ever present love for us. Read Hebrews 13:8
This reminded me of a service that we had at the base chapel in Kirtland AFB. During the service, we literally decorated the sanctuary using Scripture to justify each addition. I remember sitting with interest listening and reading the thoughts on each addition, and the beauty of pieces.
1. Boughing the Church: Honor
I Kings 5: 5-6
Now here is what I want you to do: Build a temple in honor of God, my God, following the promise that God gave to David my father, namely," Your son whom I will provide to succeed you as King, he will build a house in my honor". And here is how you can help. Give orders for cedars to be cut for me...
I Kings 6:15
He lined it's interior walls with cedar board... and covered the floor of the temple with planks of pine.
2. Braided Garland: Unity
Though one may be overpowered,
two ca n defend themselves.
A cord of three strands in not quickly broken.
3. Wreaths: Unending and complete joy
1 Corinthians 9:25
Everyone who competes in the games exercises them control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we the imperishable.
4. Lights: Praise
Let there be light!
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and light to my path.
Matthew 5: 14
You are the light of the world.
Matthew 5: 16
Let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
5. Star: Prophecy
We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.
II Peter 1:19
We couldn't be more sure of what we saw and heard _ God's glory. God's voice. The prophetic Word was confirmed to us. You will do well to keep focusing on it. It is the one light you have in a dark time as you wait for daybreak and the rising of the Morning Star in your hearts.
There are more boxes to unpack. More memories to unfold. And there are many more traditions to pass down to the next generation!