Yesterday we were sitting at the dinner table and Adam was discussing how ridiculous the idea was of bringing a tree into the house and hanging stuff all over it. What was the first guy thinking who did that? What does that have to do with the birth of Christ?
It was a great teaching opportunity on the origins of the Christmas Tree. Martin Luther was a German Catholic priest caught up in the system that disassociated priests from laity. Lay people came to church and listened to the priests read from the Bible and recite prayers, and take communion on behalf of a sinful congregation. But the people had no connection to God. Then he got saved.
It was then a pagan ritual to celebrate the winter solstace by cutting down evergreen trees and bringing them into homes to celebrate the new year. Martin Luther, in a creative attempt to make the birth of Christ relevant to common people, brought an evergreen tree into the church he led, set candles upon it, and used it as a teaching tool that Christ is the light of the world. The evergreen tree had been a symbol of fertility, but Martin Luther used it to teach eternal life that is in Christ.
It created a scandal in the Catholic Church but marked the beginning of the Reformation movement as Martin Luther made Christianity relevant to everyone. He was the original Andy Stanley.