For the Slavs, the tree remains all central and bearing, the fecund creature that holds the seeds of all, the progenitor for the verdant world. To down such a tree, or, in the tradition of the badnjak, to remove a sampling of oak covered in brown gold leafing, would require ceremonial preliminaries.
Christmas was more than a celebration; it was God’s trumpet, announcing to Herod the beginning of the end. It was a banner of war, unfurled to declare that a divine revolution had begun.
I can think of no better homage to the man who “created” the modern celebration of the holiday than to read his delightful A Christmas Carol.