When traditions have been around for a long time, there can often be uncertainty, and even disputes, over how they originated. For example, the beloved Christmas tree. There are many stories of how the tradition began, but no one is quite sure.
One story credits Martin Luther, the towering figure of the Protestant Reformation, with starting the tradition of having a fir tree in his house during the dark winter months. The story goes that Luther brought an evergreen into his home to encourage his wife and children through a cold, dark winter. The evergreen, he said, represented ‘the eternal love of God and the steadfastness of their own faith’. The candles he decorated it with represented the star that led the Magi to Christ.
When I first read of Luther’s reason for putting candles on the tree, I realised how incredible the light of the star must have been to the Magi. Matthew 2:9-10 reads, “they [the magi] went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.” The star moved to guide the Magi, and it stopped when it came to the right place. It was no ordinary star but one that guided, brought hope and expectation. I can’t imagine how incredible it must have been for them to follow it, with the building excitement and expectation about what would meet them at the other end. The world had long awaited a Redeemer, and many prophecies had been told of a Messiah who would be a sacrifice in place of us. Christ was the fulfilment of this promise, and it is through Him that we can still be reconciled to God today. He has paid the price for the sins and shortcomings of those who turn to Him in repentance and faith. Hope is here for you in this very moment!
By Becky Watson