Monday, December 04, 2006

4th Day of Christmas - Ornaments on the tree

In medieval Europe, plays were performed throughout the year and December 24th was deemed Adam and Eve's Day. This included a play about the Garden of Eden and the forbidden fruit. However, during these times they did not have available to them all the materials we have now to make props and you could not find a tree with fruit on it in the middle of December. Therefore, they started using evergreen trees strung with apples as the tree from which the forbidden fruit was plucked.

The audiences loved this tree and continued on the tradition in their homes. Even after the medieval plays were no longer performed, German families continued to decorate evergreens with shiny red apples and called them "paradise trees".

As the years passed the decorations became more elaborate including gingerbread cookies hidden within the branches, nuts dipped in sugar nestled in the pine needles and fruits and vegetables made of marzipan candy hung from the boughs. However the most important decoration became the tiny round wafers of bread hidden with the other decorations. These represented the body of Christ which was broken for our sins.

The message? Hidden among the forbidden fruit (candied/sugared decorations) through which sin/death entered the world are signs of Jesus Christ (the wafers), the One who gives eternal life.

As you decorate your tree this year remember Romans 5:19

Because one person (Adam) disobeyed God, many people became sinners. But because one other person (Jesus) obeyed God, many people will be made right in God's sight

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