The tradition of decorating the Christmas tree dates back thousands of years. Using the history of the Christmas tree you can help teach your children the importance of Christmas.
What the Bible Says
Some Christians may be worried about what Jeremiah says about cutting down trees in Jeremiah 10.
This is what the Lord says:
“Do not learn the ways of the nations
or be terrified by signs in the heavens,
though the nations are terrified by them.
3 For the practices of the peoples are worthless;
they cut a tree out of the forest,
and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel.
4 They adorn it with silver and gold;
they fasten it with hammer and nails
so it will not totter.”
Reading Jeremiah 10: 2-4, it sure does sound like the Lord is saying we should not put up Christmas trees! But after reading through the history of the time, we see Jeremiah is condemning idolatry. The trees in verses 2-4 are being cut down and chiseled into idols then decorated with gold and silver. There is nothing specific about Christmas trees. (Reference here.) So rest assured, your Christmas tree traditions can live on in a Christian home.
In the 16th century, Germans started the Christmas tree tradition we still celebrate today. It is widely accepted that Martin Luther, the 16th century Protestant reformer, was the first to add candles to his indoor Christmas tree. The story goes that Luther was walking home one evening, working hard on drafting a sermon, and was taken aback by the brilliance of stars he saw in the evergreens along his walk. He wanted to replicate the scene for his family, so he added lighted candles to his family’s tree. (Reference here.)
Teaching About Jesus Using the Christmas Tree
For this activity you will need to gather a couple items.
- Small Fir Tree
- A Star
- A Candle
- Wreath to Hang on the Tree
- Santa Ornament
- Candy Cane
- Angel for the Top of the Tree
- Wrapped Gift
Use the story below to help teach your children about the meaning of Christmas using the Christmas tree. You can also do this same activity while you are decorating your family Christmas tree.
The Real Meaning of Christmas By an Author Unknown
One week before Christmas, a well-known visitor made a surprise appearance…
I had just finished the household chores and was preparing for bed when a noise startled me. I cautiously opened the door to the front room. To my amazement, Santa Claus stepped from behind the Christmas tree! He placed one finger over his mouth so I would not cry out.
“What are you doing here?” I exclaimed. Then I realized that Santa had tears in his eyes. His usual jolly manner was gone. The eager, boisterous soul we all know was very sad. Santa offered one, simple statement, “TEACH THE CHILDREN!” I was puzzled—what did he mean? Anticipating my question, with one quick movement he brought forth a great bag from behind the tree.
I stood there bewildered. Santa explained, “Teach the Children! Teach them the old meaning of Christmas. So many people today have forgotten what Christmas is really about!”
Santa then reached into his bag, pulled out a tiny FIR TREE, and placed it on the mantle. “Teach the Children that the stately fir tree remains green all year round, showing the everlasting hope of mankind. The needles point heavenward, making it a symbol of our prayers that always reach God.”
Santa again reached into his sack and pulled out a brilliant STAR. “Teach the Children that the Bethlehem star was the sign of promises long ago. God promised to send a Savior to deliver the world. The bright star pointed to the fulfillment of that promise—God’s only Son had been born!”
Next, Santa pulled a CANDLE from his bag. “Teach the Children that the candle symbolizes that Jesus, God’s Son, is the light of the world. When we see this light remember the One who overcomes the darkness.”
Once again Santa reached into his sack. This time he removed a WREATH and placed it on the tree. “Teach the Children that the wreath reveals the endless nature of God’s love. Real love never ceases. Nothing can stop God’s amazing love.”
Santa then pulled from his bag an ornament of HIMSELF. “Teach the Children that Santa Claus symbolizes the generosity and good will we show to others because God has given us His very special Son. Don’t forget to tell the Children that Saint Nicolas was not part of the first Christmas in Bethlehem.”
Santa then reached into his sack and carefully placed a CANDY CANE on the tree. “Teach the Children that the candy cane represents the shepherd’s staff. The crook on the staff rescues sheep who have strayed from the flock. God never gives up on people who wander from Him.”
Next, He removed a delicate ANGEL and lifted it to the very top of the tree. “Teach the Children that angels shouted the glorious news of the Savior’s birth. These heavenly messengers sang ‘Glory to God in the highest! Peace and good will to everyone on earth!’”
Finally, Santa pulled out a beautifully wrapped GIFT. He said, “Teach the Children that God deeply loves people, so He gave them His most precious gift—Jesus, His only Son. When the wise men arrived in Bethlehem, they bowed before the Child and presented gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. This is why we give gifts to others each Christmas.”
Then Santa paused. He stared at the tree and seemed to be pleased. I saw that the twinkle had returned to his eyes. He turned, looked at me, and smiled. Santa offered these final words, “Remember to teach the Children the true meaning of Christmas. Please don’t put me in the center, for I am but a humble servant. Jesus Christ is the real reason for the Christmas season. I am glad to join all others who bow down and worship Him, our Lord and God.” —Author Unknown
Montessori Christmas Tree Activities
Pinterest is a beautiful place that has thousands of wonderful idea. I collected a couple great Montessori inspired Christmas tree activities for you to help celebrate the tradition of the Christmas tree with your kids this year.
Decorating the Christmas Tree Activity (check for the translate button on the left sidebar)
Shape Ornaments for Toddlers and Preschoolers
Christmas Tree Theme for Preschool and Early Elementary
I hope you will enjoy your Christmas tree a little more this year with your little ones.
Elaine Goh says
I love the story of the Real Meaning of Christmas!! How appropriate that Santa should say at the end that he is but merely a humble servant of God, and not to put him in the center. Instead Jesus is the center of it all. Amen!
jo ebisujima says
My son still has a little tree that he decorates, interesting hearing the story you tell too.
I love how we all have our own traditions, we have had to make some of our own because we live the other side of the world to the family, but they are all special.