How Trees Figured in Jesus’ Life and On Ours

How Trees Figured On Jesus' Birth and on Ours by MICHAEL A. BENGWAYAN

Today is Christmas Day. You may be doing one of the most memorable things in your life. So memorable it will be treasured in your video, cameras, hearts and memories.   On this day too, we should remember how trees figured in Jesus'  life and on our very own.   On the hay put for Jesus to sleep was a manger made of wood. A manger from the French manger (meaning "to eat"), or from Latin manducare (meaning "to chew") is a  wood construction used to hold food for animals (as in a stable).  They are also used to feed  animals.   St. Luke wrote that Jesus was born at the first floor of an inn with an extension for animal shelter which were then being fed that winter.   Many historians believe that the manger was made of olive tree which was the most abundant tree during that time.   Two of the three kings who brought gifts to Jesus gave presents that came from wood. Frankincense called olibanum (Hebrew: לבונה, levonah; Arabic: لبٌان, lubbān), is an aromatic resin obtained from trees of the genus Boswellia, particularly Boswellia sacra (syn. B. carteri, B. thurifera), B. frereana, and B. bhaw-dajiana (Burseraceae).   It is used in incense and perfumes. It was given by Gaspar, the king of Saba, now Ethiopia.   Myrrh, the second tree--based gift believed to have been given by Melchor, is a dried oleo gum resin from the Commiphora species of trees,  the principal species being Commiphora myrrha, which is native to Yemen, Somalia, and the eastern parts of Ethiopia and from another primary species Commiphora gileadensis, native to Israel/Palestine and Jordan.   During the time of Christ, he gave parables/teachings often relating it with trees and seeds, (barren fig tree, budding fig tree, growing seed, mustard seed, 2 parables of the sower, vine and branches) to name a few.   Many trees were mentioned in his lifetime--olive (mentioned 30 times in the New Testament), Lebanon cedar, fig, lemon, and almond.   During His death, he carried a cross made of tree to Calvary. According to post-Nicene historians, Socrates Scholasticus and others, the Empress Helena (c. AD 250 – c. AD 330), mother of Constantine, the first Christian Emperor of Rome, travelled to the Holy Land, dated by modern historians in 326-28, founding churches and establishing relief agencies for the poor.   Followingly,  fourth-century history by Gelasius of Caesarea followed by Rufinus' additions to Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History, said that she discovered the hiding place of three crosses, believed to be used at the crucifixion of Jesus and the two thieves — St. Dismas and Gestas — who were executed with him, and that through a miracle it was revealed which of the three was the True Cross.   The tree was believed made of pine tree particularly Pinus pinea or stone pine, which was abundant in the Golgotha area in First Century AD  and was the most commonly used wood during those years.   It was a very heavy cross for our very heavy sins.   In life and in death Jesus taught us the value of trees.   In the end, he taught us that "HE IS THE TREE OF LIFE".   Yet, until now, most of us have never learned a thing or two from Him, the trees and from our own sins.   Merry Christmas to all!...Michael A. Bengwayan  

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