Good day everyone!
Well, Christmas is almost upon us. It is the time to celebrate the birth of our Savior and to get together with loved ones opening presents under the tree or just enjoying each other’s company. What a special time of year! I love it!
Last week we learned about the Christmas tree and the week before about putting up lights. But what about all the beautiful ornaments? Where did that come from and is it pagan?
I had been informed one time a few years back that hanging round ornaments on trees actually had its roots in pagan ritual. You may have heard this too so let me share some information. Supposedly the ornaments represented male organs and were hung to induce favor with the fertility gods. Whether this is true or not, it is not connected in any way to our beautiful Christmas ornaments.
Our tradition can be traced to the 1800’s back in England. Pinecones, colorful winter berries, nuts and fruits where first used to decorate trees. Then small colorful items found around the house began to be placed on the tree in addition to the natural items. And in the UK people crafted lace and paper into special shapes. Soon the Germans began to bake their cookies, especially gingerbreads, in different shapes and sizes. Also around this same time here in America strings of popcorn and cranberrieswere carefully made and wrapped around the Christmas tree.
“The Germans began making ornaments for mass production in the mid-1800s. Around Lauscha, Germany, glass blowers began molding glass into fruit or nut replicas. After those became a big hit, they began making different shapes, such as
hearts and stars, as well as saints, children or animals.
|Antique German glass blown ornament|
“In the 1920s, more countries vied with Germany for the Christmas ornament market. Japan came out with more colorful designs than Germany, while the Czech Republic produced very fancy ornaments. After World War I, glass ornaments began to be produced by a machine in Corning, New York. They were the first
glass ornaments to be made by machine.”1
|Antique Japanese glass blown ornaments|
So you see even if some pagan religions used ornaments for their rituals, it is not what we do or even think of with our ornaments. Likewise, the use of ornaments didn’t spring out of the pagan religion. It came about from the celebration of the birth of the Christ Child and the desire to honor Him in some small way--by decorating a conifer tree. May we remember and treasure that amazing event as we gaze upon our beautiful ornaments and thank the Lord for His sacrifice and love.
May you all have a very Merry Christmas!
Until next time,
This week in the night skies: for the northern lats; “This is the time of year when Orion shines in the east-southeast after dinnertime. He's well up now, but his three-star Belt is still nearly vertical. The Belt points up toward Aldebaran and, even higher, the Pleiades. In the other direction, it points down to where bright Sirius is about to rise.”2
For the southern lats; “Comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy is brightening nicely in the sky, and its tail is doing some interesting things…You can see significant changes in the span of the tail and the secondary spikes.”3