Friday, January 28th, 2022

Shopper Client Stories


THE LEGEND OF THE CHRISTMAS TREE

by Rob Lauer



In 1848, when "The London Illustrated News" published a drawing of Queen Victoria and her German-born husband, Prince Albert, gathered with their children around a table-top Christmas tree, the British public fell in love with the quaint German Christmas tradition. Within a year, Brits of all classes were bringing small evergreens into their homes to decorate for the holiday. When images of the royal family and their Christmas tree reached the United States in 1850, Americans-buoyed by a massive influx of German immigrants-made the tradition their own.

The Christmas tree can be traced with certainty to Germany in the year 1604. But according to an even older Germanic legend, the practice of decorating an evergreen for Christmas originated with Saint Winfrid in the seventh century.

Surrounded by a crowd of recent Christian converts, Saint Winfrid took up an ax and chopped down a giant oak that had formerly been the object of their Druidic worship. As it fell backward like a tower, groaning as it split asunder into four pieces, Winfrid noticed standing just behind the felled oak, a young fir tree, pointing a green spire toward the stars.

Winfrid let his ax slip from his hand and, turning to the crowds, said: "This little tree, a young child of the forest, shall be your holy tree tonight. It is the wood of security and peace, for your homes are built of fir timber. It is an emblem of eternal life, for its leaves are forever green. See how it points toward heaven! Let this little tree be called the tree of the Christ Child; gather around it, not here in the wild forest, but in your own homes; there it will shelter no deeds of violence, but only loving gifts and acts of merciful kindness!"




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