Nature and Nature's God
An evergreen tree symbolizes Christmas in different ways. The evergreen of the tree refers to everlasting life. God gave His beloved Son to give us everlasting life. The steeple-like crown of the tree points to heaven. "Heaven is my home." The lights on the tree are a reminder that Jesus is the Light of the World. "In Him was life; and the life was the Light of men." John 1:4.
Trees are important in the unfolding of Biblical truth. It was a tree whose forbidden fruit brought sin into the world. Some Christmas trees therefore use apples (fruit) as decoration. And it was a tree to which our Savior was nailed to redeem sinful mankind.
Until a few years ago the Christmas tree that graced our homes was a spruce or a balsam. Now the pine is beginning to substitute. If the pine has its needles in clusters of two, it is a red pine. If, however, the needles are in clusters of five, it is a white pine. The bark of the red pine is of a reddish tinge; the wood of the white pine is clean and white colored.
The white pine belong to a distinguished family of trees. When the colonists arrived on our shores, a dense white pine forest stretched before them. They had no white pine in England. They learned to love that tree. The wood was straight-grained, light, strong, and easy to work with the tools at hand. The first house in America was built of white pine. Even today after more than 200 years, many of these handsome houses still stand in excellent condition.
The King of England soon heard of the towering, majestic white pines in New England. The royal charter of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, granted by William and Mary in 1691, reserved to their Majesties all white pines whose diameter measured 24 inches or more. These were to become the masts and spars of the British ships. Those trees were marked with the King's "broad arrow." These restrictions in the charter gradually enraged the colonists and helped to create a climate that resulted in the Revolutionary War.
In 1652 the colonists established the first mint. John Hull was the first mintmaster. He designed the first coin made in this mint. It had a white pine engraved on its face. It was called the pine tree shilling.
When War broke out, General Washington was requested to provide the colonists with a fleet of ships with which to intercept the British ammunition ships. The flag for this fleet bore a green white pine on a white background with the words, An Appeal to Heaven.
As the wave of migration surged westward in our country, the pioneers found in what is now Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota the finest stand of white pine the world has ever seen. In Ithaca, New York is famous Cornell University. Do you know that Cornell is named after a man who gained high financial status because of the white pine of Wisconsin?
In 1866 Ezra Cornell purchased at 60 cents an acre 500,000 acres of virgin white pine in an area near Chippewa Falls. Not only did the lumbering of that dense forest net a generous profit, the land was also good for agriculture. The fortune Ezra Cornell made on that investment amounted to about $5,500,000.00. Of this amount he gave much to the University of Ithaca. The name of the University memorializes him.
Growth of Pine
Some plants thrive best in association with certain other plants. White pine and dewberry harmonize beautifully. Dewberry is the creeping blackberry. Take two young white pine trees of rather equal stature. Transplant one among grasses; the other among dewberries. You can safely predict that within a year the tree among the dewberries will develop a husky cluster of buds, the new needles will bespeak health and congeniality. It will soon outgrow, out bloom his fellows planted the same day, with the same care, in the same soil, but in company of grass.
The red pine has an affinity for the flowering spurge. The jack pine's favorite is the sweet fern, also called sweet gale.
How long do the needles stay on a pine? We see the fallen needles cover the floor of a pinery as a soft carpet. It seems these needles keep most other plant growth from shooting up. White pine needles last one and one-half years. Those that dropped this October were "born" in April, a year and a half ago. The needles of the red pine are on for two and one-half years.
Providence manifests His wisdom in keeping the needles of the conifers on over winter. They function as do the leaves of deciduous trees. The needles inhale the carbon dioxide and give us in exchange pure oxygen. Thus they purify the air during the winter months.
It is said that if tubercular folks could tent in a white pine forest, the balsamic odor would be healing to their wounded lungs. In looking over the contents of cough medicines, I found in some of them extractives of white pine. Indian squaws prefer to pad their papoose boards with moss from the white pine.
The use of the wood of the white pine is almost limitless. Wooden matches are made of white pine; so are boxes, crates, furniture, paneling, door and window frames - just to mention a few.
The largest known white pine is in Central Ontario, Canada. At its base this tree has a diameter of 45 feet. The first branch is 80 feet up, at which point the trunk has a 30-foot diameter. What a vast amount of wood the Lord has given Man in this one tree! As one reflects upon the generosity of Nature, One is constrained to sing:
I will sing my Maker's praises
And in Him most joyful be,
For in all things I see traces
Of His tender love to me.
Let us remember his tender love and provision as we celebrate this Christmas, making so much use of the Christmas tree like we do in our country today.
© Bible-Science Newsletter, December 1966, Creation Moments, Inc. PO Box 839, Foley, MN 55498, 800-422-4253 www.creationmoments.com