The Christmas Tree


The Christmas tree has become the centerpiece of most modern Christmas celebrations. Whether its origins are Christian is unclear. Legend has it that Protestant reformer Martin Luther began the tradition of adorning trees with candles around 1500 A.D. after being awestruck by moonlight reflecting on a stand of evergreens. He brought a small fir tree home and decorated it with candles lit in honor of Jesus Christ’s birth.

Some claim that the Christmas tree has secular origins that range from the early Egyptian worship of evergreens to the Romans’ Saturnalia festival or Druidic rituals practiced during the winter solstice.

Whatever its origins, the modern Christmas tree represents something different to people who celebrate the holiday now than it did to their ancestors. The evergreen is a changeling in the sense that it can take any shape or form. It can be any color, tall or short, big or small, real or artificial, filled with lights, candles, garland and tinsel or none of them, topped by a star or angel, glittering or austere, and filled with identical ornaments or a hodgepodge of collectibles. The tree looks like whatever the person who puts it up wants it to be.

The only aspect that hasn’t changed through the centuries is that the tree should be a coniferous pine. Perhaps its evergreen nature symbolizes that it will always have a special place in people’s hearts, no matter what form it takes.

Tree

May your holidays ever be filled with the Christmas spirit.

 

 

snowflakeM.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain and a collection of short stories called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories. His books are available as an e-book and in print on Amazon.com and other booksellers. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2012 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

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The Christmas Dilemma


I never know what to buy people for Christmas.  It’s just two weeks until Christmas, and I still don’t know what to buy for a couple of family members.  Sure, I could always get them a gift card from their favorite store, but what’s the fun in that?  Sometimes it’s easy enough to figure what to buy people.  However, sometimes I can’t figure out what they need or want at a reasonable price.  How many small ticket items do people need?  Can’t I just buy them one really expensive gift and let that be their for the next six Christmases?

Christmas may be losing its meaning amidst all the commercialism.  The frantic search for the perfect gift, the muddling through the crowds at the mall, or the quick online purchase definitely do not define the meaning of Christmas.  Christmas has become overly materialistic and sanitized.  It has been adopted as a national holiday and is observed by people throughout the world who are not Christian.  The focus of Christmas has increasingly shifted towards Santa and what gifts he’ll bring, about families reuniting, about expressing love through a purchased product, and goodwill towards men.  While these are good and noble endeavors, they overshadow Christmas’ true meaning.  Christmas is a birthday celebration for Jesus, a carpenter from the Galilee region born about 4 B.C.  It’s been said that his actual birthday would have been in April based on the timing Roman Census that required his parents to journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem prior to his birth.  That would mean Jesus’ actual birthday would be sometime around Easter.  If Christmas is replaced by Xmas or Winter Break or Happy Holiday then perhaps the observance of Jesus’ birthday should be moved to a day closer to the actual day of his birth.  This would reassert the meaning of the holiday without all the commercialistic trappings of Christmas.  The date of Christmas has much to do with the ancient Druid celebration of Winter Solstice.  Moving the date celebrating Jesus’ birth would put it more in line with celebrating it on the actual date of his birth.