Saturday, November 29, 2008

Advent Activity Calendar - December 6

Scripture Reading:

Isaiah 45: 21-22

“Declare what is to be, present it-- let them take counsel together. Who foretold this long ago, who declared it from the distant past? Was it not I, the LORD? And there is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me. Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.”

Country in Focus: Germany

Tradition: Christmas Tree

Activity: Decorate the Christmas tree.

Materials: tree, lights, and all your family's favorite tree decorations

The history of the Christmas tree, like so many of our Christmas traditions, is very convoluted. But we will give the credit to Germany. England lays claim to the Christmas tree since there is a legend that an English monk who used the triangular shaped fir tree as a symbol of the Trinity, but he did it while in Germany. These converted Germans went on revere the fir tree as God's tree. By the 12th century, they were hanging it upside down from their ceilings each Christmas all over Central Europe.

The first decorated tree on record was in Latvia in 1510. Then in the early 16th century, Martin Luther decorated a small Christmas tree with candles. He lit the tree to duplicate the lights of the stars at night, or so the legend tells.

The Christmas tree was not widely used in England until the 19th century. This tradition was brought to America by the Pennsylvania Germans. Therefore, I think it's fair that we give Germany the "Country in Focus" credit.

Have fun decorating your tree with your family!

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