Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Trees

My mind has gone a bit blank over Christmas, there is something I want write about but I am not sure how to do it tactfully and respectfully.

So instead: Christmas Trees.
Apparently Prince Albert introduced them to England, I am not exactly sure this is true, greenery was always brought into the house at Christmas from pagan times. I have a recollection of Jocobean Catholic households having not just greenery but trees representing the Tree of Life in their homes at Christmas.
The idea of the Tree of Life, a living tree bearing fruit seems to have been around in Germany from the middle ages, decorated at first with citrus fruit later these were substituted with glass balls. I have the feeling the protestant "christingle", a candle shoved into an orange, and the tangerine or orange in the bottom of children's stockings has the same origin, a small bite of Eternal Life.

4 comments:

Jackie Parkes said...

Oh pleeeze tell us the 'something!'..!!

Jane said...

Dear Father, and Jackie,
I put two posts on my blog on Christmas Eve about the folk lore and history of the Christmas tree. They may interest you. They are adapted from the entry for December 24th in my first book published 2002.

New Year wishes and prayers,
J

gemoftheocean said...

Never knew that about the orange in the stocking. I guess I'd always assumed that in the past it used to be a rare treat having citrus in the winter.

PeterHWright said...

The holly and the ivy, and the mistletoe, and the yule log are all of pagan origin, I think, as is the celebration of the winter solstice (December 21).

But the feast of the Incarnation has somehow replaced all these customs, presumably because it is great and wonderful, and nothing can ever be the same because of it.

Men looked, in the dark days of winter, for the return of the light. That is understandable.

But Christ's light enlightens every man who comes into the world, and in Him is life eternal.

It really is quite extraordinary.