Once again I'm reviewing a book which I read back in December of last year. This is practical because you might be looking to stock up on your Christmas reading material, after all, we're only six months away from the big day. You need to get organised early!
One of the free Kindle books I downloaded at some point in the past was
The First Christmas Tree – A Story of the Forest by Henry Van Dyke.
It's a very short little book telling the story of the first Christmas tree to
be brought indoors for the celebration of Christmas
I imagine that at some point in the past, when it was first published, that
it would have taken the form of a little religious pamphlet. The story is
essentially about introducing pagans to Christianity and isn't particularly
long. I read it in a day (and that includes finishing Will Grayson, Will
I felt like the very beginning bit of the story didn't have a great deal of
relevance to the rest of the story. I guess it served to introduce the
characters of Gregor and Winfried but other than that it was kind of pointless.
I would've rather had it just get into the actual meat of the story, considering
it was so short this introduction ate into the rest of the book quite a bit.
From a more academic point of view, I think that the character of Gregor sort
of takes the place of the reader. He's being educated as the story goes on; he's
asking the sorts of questions that the reader might be expected to be
asking.Winfried meanwhile is teaching him about Christianity, and through the
story is educating the reader as well.
It was interesting to see how Winfried adopted a pagan ritual (with the tree)
in order to bring them over to his side as he tried to encourage them to become
Christian. I've read before that a lot of the rituals that Christian countries
follow were actually assimilated from other pre-existing beliefs and religions.
It's something I'd like to read into in greater detail.
In summary, good book, very short and interesting from a historical/religious
perspective. Though it's unlikely to be one I'll revisit again any time