Thursday, December 8

Sugar Tree?

Who doesn't love pretty Christmas ornaments? I love them. Mine are bright and full of glitter. My tree is a looks a lot different the the original decorated Christmas trees in Medieval Europe.

During the European Middle Ages it was popular for plays to be performed throughout the year that were based on the lives of Biblical characters. It was known throughout that December 24th was declared Adam and Eve's day and the setting of that play was the Garden of Eden. Since this day was set on a winter day a fruit tree couldn't not be found so the play featured an evergreen  as the "Paradise Tree" from which they plucked an apple. This tree delighted the audience and it became the star of the show. After this play, German families were so delighted with this tree that they began to put them in their homes on December 24th and they called them "Paradise Trees" 

Throughout time the trees became more and more elaborate. People used things like apples, nuts, dates, pretzels and paper flowers. You could often find these trees down the halls of theaters or outside churches. They decorated them with sweets to be enjoyed by everyone and their children. In homes, mothers began to hide little gingerbread cookies in the branches and nuts dipped in sugar would be nestled in the needles. Fruits and vegetables formed from Marzipan also hung from the limbs. It is said that the trees became so candy coated that they became known as "Sugar Trees".

Can you imagine a sugar tree in your living room? My kids would think that they had died and gone to heaven. You could also find amongst all of this sugar, tiny round wafers hung behind all the beautiful shiny fruits. These round wafers represented the Body of Christ.  "And so hidden among the forbidden fruit, through which death entered the world were signs of Jesus Christ, the One who give eternal life." (Lisa Welchel; The ADVENTure of Christmas)

We can't help but be reminded of the familiar verse found in Romans 5:19

"Because one person (Adam) disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, (Jesus) many will be made righteous."

So there you go. As you hang ornaments on your trees this year you can tell you kids the story behind the ornaments and also tell them the story of Adam and Eve and God's redemptive plan through Christ. It isn't hard to find Christ in this season. You have to look for him in the small things like wafers hidden amongst the fruit on the original Christmas trees. He is there you just have to be willing to find him. 

1 comment:

  1. Wow, what an interesting history of the tree! I never knew, thanks for sharing.


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