treeWhat are your favorite Christmas traditions? I asked my daughter this question at breakfast and she didn’t hesitate with her answer.

It’s a tie. I love how we get a new Christmas ornament given to us each year because they represent our life as we have grown up, what we’ve loved. I also love when our family gathers around Christmas Eve to read the Bible story of the first Christmas. Hands down, those are my favorite traditions.”

I love everything about Christmas. I can’t choose a favorite tradition because they’re all special to me.  I love learning the story behind many of the traditions we all celebrate, like the Christmas tree. tells the story behind Christmas trees and the lights on them:

In the 700s, a monk named Boniface wanted to prove that the belief that oak trees were sacred or magical was not true. He wanted people to understand that the Creator of trees was to be worshipped, not the trees. One Christmas season, Boniface became so frustrated with the pagan rituals surrounding the worship of oak trees that he angrily chopped a large oak tree down. When the mighty oak fell, it crushed everything in its path; everything except a tiny fir sapling. The survival of the sapling was declared a miracle by Boniface.

In honor of this miracle, for many years afterwards people planted fir saplings to celebrate Christmas. Eventually over time, people began bringing the bows of green into their homes. The custom was to tie a small tree upside down from the rafters, with no decorations.

Many years later, Martin Luther was walking through a dense German forest, looking for a fir tree to bring home for Christmas. The night fell more quickly than Martin had anticipated and fear gripped at his heart. He prayed for safety and lifted his head. The stars in the sky seemed to shine brighter, lighting his way home.

Martin stole quietly into the house, wanting to surprise his family after hanging the tree. It was then that he had a wonderful idea -In honor of the great star that led the wise men to Bethlehem, and of the stars that had just led him home, he would decorate his tree with lights.

As Martin’s family responded to his call to come from various parts of the house, they were delighted to find the little tree planted upright in a pot of dirt, sitting on the kitchen table, candles of light attached to the branches. A new Christmas tradition had been born!

Just as the Lord was faithful to guide the Wise Men so long ago and Martin Luther’s way, He will guide us [Matthew 2:1-11]. He is faithful and He never leaves us nor forsakes us [Deuteronomy 31:6,8].

Take a moment this Christmas season to learn the story behind some of the traditions your family keep and share the stories with your loved ones. It’s not only important to know what we do, but it’s important to know why we do them.

What are a few of your family’s Christmas traditions? Please take a moment and share one here.

Merry Christmas!