Glitter & Lights
Glitter and lights,
with all things nice,
shiny and bright,
as dark draws nigh.
Outside it is freezing,
but what is the reason,
to bring all those trees in
to celebrate the season?
My research tells me, that it is Germany who started the decorated Christmas tree tradition as we now know it, back in the 16th century. It is said that Martin Luther (a 16th century protestant reformer) first added lighted candles to a tree when he was walking home one winter evening, composing a sermon, and was 'awed by the brilliance of stars twinkling amidst evergreens'. He went home and recreated the scene in the main room of his house for his family.
Then, of course, there was Queen Victoria, who was very popular with her subjects. She and Prince Albert, her German Prince, were sketched with their children around a Christmas tree in 1846. Immediately it became fashional amongst the populous to have decorated trees in the home.
Many things began to be used as decorations. Americans, favouring mainly home-made ornaments, popcorn strung together and coloured; nuts, apples and marzipan were also used in some countries.
Electricity made lighting trees possible, and much safer than candles! Trees were also decorated in town centres for the joy and pleasure of everyone.
So what does Christmas actually mean? It is a shortened form of a Middle English "Cristemasse", which is from Old English "Crīstesmæsse", a phrase first recorded in 1030, followed by the word "Cristes-messe in" 1131. "Mass" is from the Latin word meaning "to send" so the meaning of Christ-mass is, "to send Christ" or "Christ is sent".
Christ, God's Son, was sent to earth, born of a woman to make HIm human. He arrived fairly quietly with only a select few hearing of His birth. I don't know about you, but I honestly don't believe that the Baby Jesus never cried, as we sing in Christmas carols. He was a baby and babies cry when they need something and I'm sure that Mary was just as worn out with Baby Jesus as any other Mum with a newborn. He would still have to learn to walk, talk, fall over and hurt Himself...and so on. He would have been educated the same as other youngsters of the time, and went on to learn His earthly Dad's profession of Carpentry. After that, Jesus began to fulfil HIs reason for being here.
He radically changed the way 'religion' was observed, which got Him into a lot of trouble with the authorities as He taught and spoke of being the Son of God, and the only way to get to heaven for eternity.
One of the most important things He taught was that there were only two commandments to follow. He didn't throw out the Ten Commandments as such, but taught us that there are only two commandments:
To love the Lord our God with all our hearts, minds and souls
To love our neighbour as ourself.
Jesus taught that if we kept these two commandments, then all the rest would follow - what a wonderful world that would be!
So, amongst the tradition of the trees, and glitter, let's remember that:
Jesus is the reason,
for the season!