Sunday, December 5, 2010

O' Tannenbaum

O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum
How lovely are your branches!
The above verses are a combination of the German and English versions of a timeless Christmas Carol, “Oh Christmas Tree,” and an ode to my favorite Christmas decoration, the Christmas tree.

There are many beliefs about how the Christmas tree originated as a symbol of Christmas. My particular favorite has to do with Protestant reformer Martin Luther. Legend says that one Christmas Eve as Martin Luther was walking home among the evergreens, he saw the stars shining down through the branches of the trees. Wanting to show this amazing sight to his family, he chopped down a little fir tree and took it home. He decorated the tree with tiny, white candles in place of the stars. He said the shimmering tree stood for Christ, the Light of the World.

When I was a child, we always had a real Christmas tree. It was the centerpiece of all other Christmas decorations. It was the most important. It is the place under which you place your gifts and where you hung the growing collection of ornaments. We would usually put the same ornaments on it year after year, except for the popcorn. We had to pop and string new popcorn to go on the tree each year. (And eat some too in the process.) The lights were important too. You had to have colorful lights and they must blink on and off. (But beware if one burned out-The fun was delayed!) It was always exciting to turn out the lights in our living room and sit in the dark and watch the lights blink. And that smell! Oh the smell of the Christmas tree! It was so green and warm. When I smell that smell now, it takes me back, back to my childhood, back to a time of sweet peace.

We are planning on a real tree this year, the first probably since my childhood. I want to pass along that memory to my children. Making homemade ornaments and stringing popcorn and possibly cranberries is going to become a family tradition. Even though Jesus didn’t have a Christmas tree, the spirit of Christ speaks through the peace and love that is born when we create the atmosphere of Christmas in our homes each year.

Published as part of the Christmas Blogging Carnival at


  1. I love that your starting a traditions with your children. We never used popcorn until we were a little older, and asked mom if we could do this. What fun memories. It so important to do fun things together, that way you have great memories to look back on.

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  3. I deleted that comment because it posted twice.