Celebrating the Christ Child: Tennessee Traditions

Christmas tree 2009
Christmas tree 2009

Trimming the Tree in Tennessee

"Christmas in Dixie..." Can't you just hear Alabama crooning it now. It won't be long now til we're digging out the ornaments and lights. Yahoooo!!!

It's that time of year we all anticipate, and it being at the end of the year makes the wait all the more special. It's the time to all get a little misty-eyed and sentimental. It is the time of year when even the biggest of Scrooges tend to melt. Christmas brings out the best in all but the most cynical, and it most assuredly brings out the decorator in us. For some, it is a mere strand of garland or evergreen wreath on the front door. For others, it is a Griswald affair that trips breakers in the whole neighborhood. What fun! One of my favorite traditions is trimming the tree.

Here in the deep South, we are a nostalgic lot. We like to remember Christmases past...the good old days, as it were. First and foremost, Christians recognize the reason for the season--the birth of Christ. If ever there were a reason to look to the past, He is. He was, He is, and He will be forever and ever. And so we hearken back to the days of Bethlehem and pause to remember just why we have this blessed day and blessed hope. The first Christmas brought hope into the world wrapped in a tiny bundle on a bed of hay. Our Redeemer, our coming King, the Hope of all who seek Him--what joy to celebrate this wondrous event!

Secondly, we like to remember Christmases past--the holidays of our childhood when life was simple, when our parents were still with us, when it only took a few things to really make us happy. We like to remember stringing the lights and placing the star atop the cedar boughs. We used colored, blinking lights on our live tree year after year. It never was the biggest of trees, for we had a small house; but it was always the most beautiful. When we began kindergarten, the homemade ornaments began making an appearance. Mother would cherish them and place them in prominent spots each year. Some would have photos of us. Some would be hand-painted. To this day, I place them on my tree and smile.

Often even among kinfolk there is a great debate over the lights. As I said, growing up we used the multi-colored blinking lights. I used to lie in the floor and be mesmerized by the pattern they made on the ceiling. Some of the more persnickety relatives prefer all white lights--non-blinking--and matching ornaments throughout the tree. Now, I'm not poking fun if that's your thing. I'm really not. But around my house it's all about color. I suppose we all tend to favor what we grew up with, though, and that's okay. I have never seen an ugly Christmas tree, I will admit. There are some more beautiful, more luxurious in their trappings, but the beauty in the tree comes from the soul. Does your tree emanate the spirit of Christmas? Is it you? Does it reflect your joy? It's really not about the tree, you see. It's about the JOY of the season.

And Here They Are...Those Alabama Boys

Luke 2.  The Greatest Story Ever Told
Luke 2. The Greatest Story Ever Told

Some say having a tree is a pagan tradition. I say it's only pagan if you make it pagan. In our home, we have a tree because it reminds us to honor and celebrate our heritage as Christians. Christmas is a holy time. The significance of the tree? In the Christian faith, we believe that Christ was born into the world as Messiah, Savior, Redeemer of the world. We believe He came to die for us. And that meant death by crucifixion on a cross--a tree. Now we may not like to remember such gruesome details of the cross during this time. It is hard to imagine a tiny baby growing up to die such a horrendous death. Certainly, we love to focus more on His birth. But because of His death, we have atonement. Because of His sacrifice, we have life. Because of the star shining over Bethlehem, the wise men came to honor him. Because of the angels heralding the Good News, the shepherds came to honor him. The rulers of his day would seek to have all the baby boys executed. But somehow, some way, this blessed infant survived. It was in the master plan. This Holy child came into the world and an infant and left as a sacrifice for our sin. But it did not end with His death. He was resurrected and lives again. What joy to know that He lives!! And this, my friend, is why we can celebrate. This is why we don our lights and sparkles, our shiny baubles and play our Christmas music. This is why we have nativity scenes in our yards and strings of lights framing our homes. We are a happy people! We are a blessed people. We have a heritage and a hope.

Please share you Christmas memories, traditions, trees, decorations, favorite song titles, or scriptures with me in my comments section below. I would love to hear from you!

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Comments 10 comments

TWM 5 years ago

Tis Truly The Season To Be Jolly!!!!!! I have found as I get older the Spirit stays with me longer and longer into the next year. While my love for the Holy Holiday, much like yours, started as a child watching the lights dance, I realized as I grew and my relationship with HIM grew what it was all about. God gave his only son.....FOR ME....That Birthday will always be celebrated in this house and in a HUGE way. "And therefore, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!"

cgreen7090 profile image

cgreen7090 5 years ago from Tennessee Author

Thank you, TWM, for your input. Enjoyed the quote as well.

cgreen7090 profile image

cgreen7090 5 years ago from Tennessee Author

Thank you, TWM, for your input. Enjoyed the quote as well.

Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 5 years ago from Stepping past clutter

Some say having a tree is a pagan tradition. I say it's only pagan if you make it pagan...

I like the way you think! Welcome to HubPages!

angie ashbourne profile image

angie ashbourne 5 years ago

Hi! cgreen7090 I enjoyed reading your hub. vote up Angie

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

cgreen7090 . . .I have a few things to say.

First, I LOVED this hub. Voted up and away for your topic and text were dead-on CORRECT;

Second, Christmas is NOT, a pagan ritual. I am a born-from above Christian who is far from perfect, but I LOVE my Jesus, Savior, King of Kings and Lord of Lords for WHO HE IS, not what HE does for me. I have a VERY DEAR FRIEND, been friends since "the olden days," 1967, and she and her husband do NOT celebrate Christmas for they say that it is NOT Godly to have a Christmas tree or give gifts. I asked why. She said they were living as close to how Jesus lived in the OT as possible. Well, Jesus was ONLY Prophesied in the OT, and born to the Virgin Mary, who WAS a virgin and a special-chosen woman, not a common lady as some American religious organizations teach. I believe in the Emmaculate Conception--100%.


Fifth, His message, the Gospel, WAS NOT that of ALL CHRISTIANS BECOMING RICH OVERNIGHT WITH CARS,HOMES, AND MATERIAL WEALTH, as some modern-day men, not preachers, say on TV whose salaries range from $1 million to $4 million a YEAR. Wow!

I worship GOD. And follow, the best I can, with the help of The Holy Spirit, JESUS everyday.

I APPRECIATE YOU, CGREEN..FOR YOUR LIFE, TESTIMONY AND FOLLOWING ME. God bless you, my bro and keep up the good fight of faith.

Yours in Christ, KENNETH AVERY

cgreen7090 profile image

cgreen7090 5 years ago from Tennessee Author

Thanks, Kenneth, for stopping by and reading. I look forward to reading your hubs as well. Your kind comments are encouraging. God bless!

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

cgreen7090 . . .YOU ARE VERY WELCOME. And I look forward, with much anticipation, to having you read some of my materials. Sincerely, KENNETH

ThomasRydder 5 years ago

Hi CG!! I remember a Christmas when I was oh, 8 or so, and I came down to find a train track set up around the tree. The little engine was huffing and puffing along. One of my present given early :). We have, along the way, lost the spirit of Christmas. Sadly, to the youth of today its a time to receive..not God's grace, but an XBox. Of course, it's upon the parents to instill values into the holiday, but with peers from up the block getting hundreds of dollars of "stuff", it's tough.

I want YOU to have a merry and safe holiday season....which includes HAPPY THANKSGIVING and MERRY CHRISTMAS...God's blessing to you and yours :)TR

stars439 profile image

stars439 5 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

Wonderful hub, and enjoyed it. God Bless You Precious Heart.

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