In the U.S., my favorite holiday (Thanksgiving) is behind us. Now, the madness of the hyper-commercialized Christmas season is upon us. I confess, the overabundance of hype and secular slant that now dominates, make it difficult for me to enjoy Christmas. I’m most assuredly not joyless but mythical legends like that of St. Boniface and the Christmas tree don’t help.
Unfortunately, madness isn’t confined to secular myths about jolly overweight men in red suits and unbounded commercialism. In recent years, this false legend concerning the origin of the Christmas tree has been widely circulated. The internet era quickens and intensifies the production and repetition of manmade history, both in secular and religious spheres.
The Vatican first displayed a Christmas tree in 1982, a mere 40 years ago and within my own lifetime. I do not oppose Christmas trees. My family recently put our tree up and I’m glad the Vatican does so. This is one Christmas tradition I enjoy. What I am against is false legends that get unknowingly and uncritically consumed by the masses, especially when they are propagated by those who should know better, in support of their exclusivist religious tradition.