Is it strange that you feel obligated to bring a tree into your house every year only to remove it one month later? Why in the world do you feel the need to bring a pine tree into your home on Christmas? Why do you only do it on Christmas?
No one knows for certain why we decorate pine trees on Christmas. Based on historical evidence, it is too difficult to tell who started the tradition. However, many of the Christmas tree traditions honor Jesus, and therefore it can encourage us to continue such traditions to honor Christ.
While people have decorated trees for hundreds of years, the 16th century German preacher Martin Luther, was the first person believed to have carried a pine tree into his home to decorate for Christmas. The story is told that, one night before Christmas, Martin was walking through the forest and looked up to see the stars shining through a pine trees branches. It was so beautiful that he went home with the tree. He told his children that it reminded him of Jesus, who left the stars of heaven to come to earth at Christmas. Martin and his family hung candles on the tree as decorations to remind them of Jesus because Jesus is the light of the world. By the mid-1800’s decorating a pine tree on Christmas had become so popular that the King and Queen of England began decorating a Christmas tree.
The story of Martin Luther is one of several stories that help us understand one aspect to the beginning of this Christmas tradition. However, other Christmas tree stories that surround our Christmas tree tradition give us a slightly different understanding of why we decorate pine trees on Christmas.
Rather than point to one specific reason why we decorate trees, it is good for us to see a few special reasons. These traditions for pine tree decorating help us to remember why Jesus is the reason we celebrate Christmas. Together we will look at three Christ focused reasons why we decorate pine trees.
Reasons #1: While others trees look dead during winter, the pine tree is healthy and alive. Shortly after the fall season begins, trees start losing their leaves, but not the pine tree. During the winter months, you can look across a forest and find the pine tree displaying a healthy green color. The pine tree is always alive. Just as the pine tree is always alive, Jesus remains alive forever. Just as winter will not stop a pine tree, death will not stop Jesus.
A Devotional Thought: Complete the thought according to John 14:6, Jesus is the way, the truth, and the _____
According to Romans 6:9 what did Jesus overcome forever?
Reason #2: The pine tree points to heaven. While all other trees get bushy and broad on top, the top of a pine tree narrows down to just a single branch. It is shaped like an arrow, pointing to the sky. This pointing tree reminds us to look up to heaven. Jesus came to this earth to die for our sins as a servant and He will return as King from heaven above.
A Devotional Thought: What does Titus 2:12-13 tell us to do?____________________________________
Reason #3: The green pine reminds us to look forward to a time when other trees will come back to life. The pine tree is a symbol of hope that spring will bring other trees back to life. Just as the pine tree causes us to look forward to new life in the Spring, Jesus encourages us to look forward to new life in Him.
A Devotional Thought: Read Ephesians 2:4-6 and answer, what did Jesus do for us?___________________
Read Revelation 21:1-4. What does this passage say about the life we will have with Jesus in heaven? ___________
We have examined three reasons why we decorate pine trees for Christmas. However, they don’t have to be the only reasons why we decorate. We decorate Christmas trees to point us to Jesus. Ask others in your family, “How can the Christmas tree remind you of Jesus”?