O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

December 3, 2017 11:02 pm Published by Leave your thoughts


Thus begins one of the more banal Christmas carols:

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,

How lovely are your branches …

Really? That’s the best we can come up with? Up until a few years ago, this song used to really bug me. Grant it, it doesn’t grate on me nearly as much as such holiday earworms like, “Last Christmas, I gave you my heart,” or the oldie but baddie, “Santa baby,” but still, not one of my favorites. That was at least, until a couple of years ago in a fit of nerddom, I decided to look at the original lyrics in German. Let’s face it, a lot of things sound better in German, and I thought this might be one of them.

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
Wie treu
 sind deine Blätter!
Du grünst nicht nur zur Sommerzeit,
Nein, auch im Winter, wenn es schneit.
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
Wie treu sind deine Blätter!

What surprised me is that, first off, the song isn’t making an insipid observation about the branches of the fir tree being pretty but rather observes that the branches are treu (faithful). While this may not be world-rocking for you, for me it completely changed the song. This one word made this otherwise mediocre folk song become completely Christmas appropriate. (Disclaimer: even though the original folk song really has nothing to do with Christmas or Christmas trees.) In summer sun or winter snow, the leaves of this tree are faithful.

Scripture has some words about faithful leaves and branches as well:

Isaiah 11:1-2

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

Jeremiah 33:14-16

Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’

Just as the leaves of that fur tree do not change, so our God does not change. He is continually faithful. Faithful to save us when we could not save ourselves. Faithful to come to earth as a man, that shoot from the stump of Jesse, the righteous branch, to show us the unchanging, steadfast love of the Father’s heart.  A faithful, and lovely, branch.

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This post was written by Nicki