Summary: The first Christmas Tree was Jesus on the Cross.
2Co 9:15 Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.
Acts 5:30 – “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree [zulon].”
Germany is credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition as we now know it in the 16th century when devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes. Some built Christmas pyramids of wood and decorated them with evergreens and candles if wood was scarce. It is a widely held belief that Martin Luther, the 16th-century Protestant reformer, first added lighted candles to a tree. Walking toward his home one winter evening, composing a sermon, he was awed by the brilliance of stars twinkling amidst evergreens. To recapture the scene for his family, he erected a tree in the main room and wired its branches with lighted candles.
Most 19th-century Americans found Christmas trees an oddity. The first record of one being on display was in the 1830s by the German settlers of Pennsylvania, although trees had been a tradition in many German homes much earlier. The Pennsylvania German settlements had community trees as early as 1747. But, as late as the 1840s Christmas trees were seen as pagan symbols and not accepted by most Americans.
It is not surprising that, like many other festive Christmas customs, the tree was adopted so late in America. To the New England Puritans, Christmas was sacred. The pilgrims's second governor, William Bradford, wrote that he tried hard to stamp out "pagan mockery" of the observance, penalizing any frivolity. The influential Oliver Cromwell preached against "the heathen traditions" of Christmas carols, decorated trees, and any joyful expression that desecrated "that sacred event." In 1659, the General Court of Massachusetts enacted a law making any observance of December 25 (other than a church service) a punishing offense; people were fined for hanging decorations.
In 1846, the popular royals, Queen Victoria and her German Prince, Albert, were sketched in the Illustrated London News standing with their children around a Christmas tree. Unlike the previous royal family, Victoria was very popular with her subjects, and what was done at court immediately became fashionable—not only in Britain, but with fashion-conscious East Coast American Society. The Christmas tree had arrived.
By the 1890s Christmas ornaments were arriving from Germany and Christmas tree popularity was on the rise around the U.S. It was noted that Europeans used small trees about four feet in height, while Americans liked their Christmas trees to reach from floor to ceiling.
The early 20th century saw Americans decorating their trees mainly with homemade ornaments, while the German-American sect continued to use apples, nuts, and cookies. Popcorn joined in after being dyed bright colors and interlaced with berries and nuts. Electricity brought about Christmas lights, making it possible for Christmas trees to glow for days on end. With this, Christmas trees began to appear in town squares across the country and having a Christmas tree in the home became an American tradition.
One person described Him this way
“He was born in an obscure village. The child of a peasant woman. He worked in a carpenter shop until he was thirty. And then became an itinerant preacher. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family or owned a house. He didn’t go to college. He never traveled 200 miles from the place where he was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness.”
Another person observed:
Socrates taught for 40 years, Plato for 50, Aristotle for 40 BUT Jesus for only 3 1/2 years. Yet His influence infinitely transcends the impact left by the combined years of the teachings from all the world’s greatest philosophers.
Jesus painted no pictures yet some of the finest paintings of Raphael, Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci obtained their inspiration from Him.
Jesus wrote no poetry, but Dante, Milton and scores of the greatest poets were inspired by Him.
Jesus composed no music. Still Hadyn, Handel, Beethoven, Bach and Mendelssohn reached their highest perfection of melody in the music they composed in His praise.
Nineteen centuries have come and gone, and today he is the central figure of the human race.
All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, and the kings that ever reigned have not affected the life of man on this earth as much as that One Solitary Life.
Acts 13:29 – “Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree [zulon] and laid Him in a tomb.”
1 Peter 2:24 – “Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.”