November 30, 2008

Boniface and Advent

Boniface cutting down sacred tree
Boniface inspired a number of Advent traditions. One story happened early in Advent around the year 720. He had left his comfortable life when 40 to minister to the savage Teutonic tribes of Germany.
Boniface had taken an axe to their sacred Oak of Thor. The pagans expected immediate punishment. When it didn't come, a seed of doubt about the strength of their gods was planted.

A few days later, the first Sunday in Advent, a young boy ran to Boniface to tell of a sacrifice of the seasonal virgin - his sister. Running, Boniface arrived as the knife was raised in the air. Lunging forward, he thrust forward his wooden cross in his hands. The knife pierced the cross - thus saving her life. In the following moments, Boniface used the astonished silence to proclaim the Gospel, declaring that the ultimate sacrifice had already been made by Christ on the cross - and there was no need for others.
They listened intently. He took his knife and cut branches from their sacred grove, handing them out, and told each family to adorn their hearths with the fir boughs as a reminder of the completeness of Christ's work on the tree of Calvary. It's said they also took logs to burn, and this is where the tradition of a Yulelog began.

"Let us stand fast in what is right and prepare our souls for trial. Let us be neither dogs that do not bark nor silent onlookers nor paid servants who run away before the wolf," said Boniface
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