I'm Just Saying

Dr. Paul Perkins

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For an author writing is as necessary as breathing. They don't write for money or to court literary fame, but because they believe they have something to say. It matters not that anyone will read or listen, the words must be written, and if in the process someone is blessed -- all the more wonderful

Dr. Perkins has written for a long time, but only recently has sought to publish his work and venture into new genres. He believes in education, finally earning his doctorate at the age of 55. He believes that learning never ends, giving fodder to the imagination and breathing life into the characters on his page. His hope is to continue telling stories for a new generation of readers and aspiring authors.

Dr. Perkins' first novel is "Centurion: From glory to glory", but is not his first book. He has written "Legacy to my sons", "The Lost Shepherd", "The prayer of a transformed life", "The Cost", and a verity of Christian Youth Devotionals. 

Oh Christmas Tree – Ho Hum!


     Last night, as we were setting up and decorating our Christmas tree, the question as to its origins was raised.  Where did the use of the Christmas tree begin, how and why was it incorporated into a Christian tradition?  Now that’s a hotbed question.  I quickly Googled The history of Christmas Trees and was presented a variety of websites. A short history: 

1.     Evergreen trees where used in many different cultures (Egyptian, Chinese, Hebrew, German, Celtic, Vikings, etc.) to represent life, hope, and resurrection.  Some used them as decoration, and others as objects in worship.
2.     Christmas (for the church) was established by the Emperor Justinian around December 25th as Christian alternative to pagan festivals.  That’s right Jesus was probably born on another date, but no one knows exactly, so the church has continued this practice.
3.     St. Boniface, in the 17th century, is said to have used the triangular shape of the Fir tree to describe the Trinity.  By the 12th century it was being hung, upside-down, from ceilings at Christmastime as a symbol of Christianity.
4.     In 1510, Martin Luther is said to have decorated a small Christmas tree with candles, to show his children how the starts twinkled through the dark night.
5.     England didn’t like the Germans and did not copy their fashions, including the use of Christmas Trees.
6.     1846 Queen Victoria and her German Prince, albert made the use of the Christmas tree popular.
7.     The Puritans, in the America, believed Christmas to be sacred and saw decorations, Christmas carols, and trees as a mockery.
8.     Those pesky Germans brought the Christmas tree tradition to America in the 18th century in small German communities, which settled in Pennsylvania.
9.     The use of the Christmas tree was on the rise in 1890 and ornaments were arriving from Germany to enhance the trees beauty.
10.  By the 1900’s the Christmas tree had become an icon representing everlasting life and hope in the coming of Christ.
           
            Should Christians adopt and adapt symbols for their own use?  Hardline critics will say, NO!  The use of pagan symbols is attuned to idolatry, and we know what the Scriptures say about idolatry.  Proponents don’t see God’s creation as the exclusive right of pagans.  New Age followers use the rainbow as their symbol, but Christians know that it is a symbol of the promise of God.  Granted there are no scriptures identifying an evergreen tree with eternal life, but that doesn’t mean that Christians can’t use it as such.  God chose many objects from creation to represent or initiate conversations about his plans.  He had the Israelites pile up rocks so that when they passed by, and their children asked what they were for, the parents would explain God’s grace in delivering them from Egypt.   The Christmas tree can be used, like St. Boniface, as a tool to talk about the grace and hope we have in Christ. 

            I like a good party, and like any good party the decorations enhance the celebration, but aren’t its central focus.  As long as the decorations and symbols don’t overwhelm the worship and adoration of God in Christ, then I say, “the more the merrier.”  I’m just saying…