No comments yet

Paradise Trees and Radicals

“The most likely theory is that Christmas trees started with medieval plays. Dramas depicting biblical themes began as part of the church’s worship, but by the late Middle Ages, they had become rowdy, imaginative performances dominated by laypeople and taking place in the open air. The plays celebrating the Nativity were linked to the story of creation—in part because Christmas Eve was also considered the feast day of Adam and Eve. Thus, as part of the play for that day, the Garden of Eden was symbolized by a “paradise tree” hung with fruit.”


“These plays were banned in many places in the 16th century, and people perhaps began to set up “paradise trees” in their homes to compensate for the public celebration they could no longer enjoy. The earliest Christmas trees (or evergreen branches) used in homes were referred to as “paradises.” They were often hung with round pastry wafers symbolizing the Eucharist, which developed into the cookie ornaments decorating German Christmas trees today.”


“The custom gained popularity throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, against the protests of some clergy. Lutheran minister Johann von Dannhauer, for instance, complained (like Tertullian) that the symbol distracted people from the true evergreen tree, Jesus Christ. But this did not stop many churches from setting up Christmas trees inside the sanctuary. Alongside the tree often stood wooden “pyramids”—stacks of shelves bearing candles, sometimes one for each family member. Eventually these pyramids of candles were placed on the tree, the ancestors of our modern Christmas tree lights and ornaments.” christianitytoday

Funny how objects such as trees go back and forth from heathen origins to Christian and back. For some, objects and symbols mean much more, for others less. They tend to draw out the traditional bent of a man or woman.

“Traditions have a propensity to stress family or cumulative responsibilities instead of singular rights and goals.”  (Psychology Dictionary)

So, human rights advocates may cite certain traditions as violating others rights.  However others feel they have a right to their tradition. Some feel that a certain tradition pushes too far against others rights. Did these folks forget their freedom to choose? Do they realize they have it?

For traditions to exist side by side freedom must anchor peoples’ beliefs.

But only, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is Freedom.”    That liberty does two things: one, protects my soul, and two, enables me to recognize others’ right to their freedom.  A free person perceives other traditions as different but not necessarily a threat to them.   Nothing, (no Tradition), can separate us from the love of Christ. Nobody can take your beliefs away, nor can any take your salvation from you.

We wrestle not with flesh and blood. Any threat to my life threatens my inward liberty. I cast down imaginations that exalt themselves against the knowledge of Christ. I bring every thought captive unto the obedience of Christ. By this I defend my freedom.

Radicals are:
a very different from the usual or traditional : extreme
b favoring extreme changes…
c associated with political views, practices, and policies of extreme change
d advocating extreme measures…      merriam-webster

I think people fear radicals. They don’t want to feel like another’s views are being pushed down their throat.

Well can there be a normal exchange of views? — a dialogue?

What is dialogue?

“… a space of civility and equality in which those who differ may listen and speak together…In dialogue, we seek to set aside fears, preconceptions, the need to win; we take time to hear other voices and possibilities… new ideas—collective wisdom—may arise.”


Christ came a baby.  A radical? Died a young man — extremist? Folks say,”Hey, we protected ourselves from another way-out dude.”

One problem: He was the Savior of their world.

They came in helicopters and boats and cars and trains. They sought to share the truth. We fought em off!

Sorry, true wisdom seekers discern poison and don’t imbibe, but partake of the good. Knee-jerk reactors throw out the baby. He is born in Bethlehem. Love ya

Tom Sliva

Tom Sliva

Born in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, Pastor Sliva went to Bible college in Massachusetts at the Stevens School of the Bible in !982. He and his family moved to Baltimore in1987 to be a part of Greater Grace World Outreach. From there, he served in Prescott, Arizona, and Indianapolis, Ind. Ordained upon his return to Baltimore in 1995, Pastor Sliva was afflicted with brain cysts in the late 90's and stayed at home base until his recovery in 2002. He then assisted with ministries in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh before resettling in Baltimore due to his son's sudden illness and death. Pastor Sliva is a colon cancer survivor. He has been part of the Pastoral Care Team since 2008 and leads the Grief Share group at Greater Grace Church. Read more from Pastor Sliva on his blog Healing at the Cross.
Tom Sliva

Latest posts by Tom Sliva (see all)

Post a comment