Kristoph and the First Christmas Tree
New Christmas stories of the saints are hard to find, so readers will savor the retelling of this nearly-forgotten legend as told by seasoned children’s author Claudia Cangilla McAdam. This tender tale told in lyrical language and illustrated with old world charm, not only explains the origins of the first Christmas tree, but also reminds us that we too, like the tree of the Christ Child, are called to be beacons of hope and grace and light amidst the darkness. A Christmas story to cherish and share and spread good cheer throughout the season.
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It’s Christmas Eve in the year 722, and Kristoph, a young orphan boy, is accompanying the missionary priest Boniface through the German countryside. They are hurrying to reach the next village by nightfall when they come upon a group of people in the forest worshiping an oak tree and preparing to sacrifice the son of the village chieftain. To prove that the oak is powerless and that there is only One True God, Boniface miraculously fells the giant tree with a single ax stroke. In its place stands an evergreen. Calling it “the tree of the Christ Child,” he instructs the men to mend their lives and take the tree home where it will shelter “loving gifts and lights of kindness.” Now rescued, the son of the village chieftain invites Boniface and Kristoph to share Christmas with his family . . . around another evergreen that Kristoph cuts down for their own celebration.