On Saturday, December 1st at 10:00 a.m., we will gather for the Hanging of the Green - decorating the church for the coming Advent and Christmas seasons, including the Advent wreath and the church Christmas tree.
The Christmas tree is deeply rooted in Christian tradition, going back at least to the story of St. Boniface, an 8th century missionary to modern-day Germany, a region controlled by Norsemen who brought their religion with them. They worshiped many gods, Thor being the chief of them and they consecrated a gigantic oak tree in Thor’s honor at the top of Mt. Gudenberg. They would gather around the tree for feasts, idol worship, and animal sacrifices.
St. Boniface, in the company of these pagans, chopped down the tree. Angry at first, the response of the Norsemen turned to repentance – if Thor could not defend his own holy place, what good was he?
Boniface then used that tree as an object lesson to tell them of a tree that actually does save, not because the tree was magic, but because on that tree, Jesus Christ died for the sins of men. That tree, Boniface said, is an evergreen, an eternal tree. Many Norsemen were converted to Christ and it was there that they began the practice of decorating evergreen trees (even in their homes) in celebration of the Savior's birth. Increasingly, the tree became a focal point in the home and gifts were laid under it, not in honor of the tree, but in honor of the Savior who died on the tree. It is His birth that we celebrate during Advent and it was for our sins that He died on the tree, the cross.
When: Saturday, December 1st at 10:00 a.m.