It's Christmas Eve 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.
Kristoph and the First Christmas Tree is a moving retelling of an early story of the prayer of St. Boniface for a Christmas Tree. The year is 722, and the date is December 24, in a cold forest village in Germany. A young orphan boy named Kristoph follows the priest Boniface into the forest ... and encounter a group of pagan men who are about to sacrifice a young boy, the son of the village chieftain, before a huge old oak tree. Boniface tells the men they should worship the true God, and not a tree, and they laugh and taunt him to prove the power of God. Boniface promises the men that through the power of God, he will fell the mighty tree with one axe stroke... With one mighty whack of the axe, he fells the oak giant. This is mystifying to the pagan men, but even more strange is a fir tree as tall as a man that seems to spring immediately from the stump of the old oak tree. Boniface tells the men the fir tree is a wood of peace, that points towards heaven, a sign of endless life with its evergreen branches. He declares it should be known as the tree of the Christ Child, displayed in their homes where it will shelter loving gifts and lights of kindness rather than evil deeds or sacrifices. Thus Boniface ... began the tradition of the blessing of the Christmas tree. Filled with colorful, realistic, narrative illustrations of the story, Kristoph and the First Christmas Tree describes an ancient Christian miracle through the fresh eyes of a child, making this lovely book a beautiful holiday gift to celebrate the coming of Christ.Midwest Book Review