German religious reformer Martin Luther (1483-1546) is often credited
with starting the Christmas tree custom, but the first appearance of a
Tannenbaum was recorded in Germany many years after Luther's
death. But it is most likely that the custom dates back to at least around
1550, since the first of several "Tannenbaum" ballads was circulating
in print at that time. Shortly after the establishment of the Christmas
tree in German homes, came the advent of the Bride's Tree.
to an old German tradition, a couple's Christmas tree should include twelve
ornaments to ensure happiness in their life journey together. The twelve
ornaments and what they symbolize are:
Fish represents Christ's
blessing, as well as fertility.
Teapot represents hospitality.A
Bird symbolizes joy, happiness, and the Holy Spirit. If the bird is
in a nest then it represents confidence in the cottage or home.
Angel or Church is a
symbol of God's guidance.
A Rabbit reflects hope
and peace with nature.
Fruit Basket symbolizes
generosity and plenty.
Heart is a symbol of
true love and love in the home.
Pine Cone represents
fruitfulness, eternity, motherhood, and fertility.
Flower Basket symbolizes
good wishes or beauty in the home.
Rose is a symbol of affection
and of the Virgin Mary. A yellow rose symbolizes faithfulness in the
House represents protection
or family shelter.
Santa is a symbol of
goodwill, giving and sharing.
suggestions for a couple's first Christmas tree include:
glass Carrot represents
good luck in the kitchen.
Star symbolizes guidance.
Boat is representative
of a couple sailing across the waters of life, both rough and smooth.
symbolize the diversity of our world.
chains or garlands show that we're all bound together
show how the love of God is reflected in a couple's love for one another.
glass Pickle is supposed
to be the last ornament hung on the tree - and hidden by parents. The
child who discovered the pickle ornament would receive a special gift
from St. Nicholas for being so observant.
A Grape is a symbol of
friendship or of sharing a glass of wine.
represents joy and merriment.
the second week of Advent comes to a close, perhaps it is wise for each
of us to consider placing these twelve ornaments on our tree... or, more
importantly, placing the twelve elements symbolized by the ornaments in
the center of our life and in our household. And not only during the holiday
season but throughout every day of every year.
hoping your season is filled with rabbits, fruit baskets, teapots and
and pine cones... as well as an open heart for all that Life brings.