"the Paradise Plays," performed in churches and town squares of Europe during the Advent season.
The plays told the story of the human race from the creation of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Paradise till the Birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. On stage during the play was a great tree hung with apples, symbolizing the Garden of Paradise. Soon people began the custom of putting a "paradise tree" laden with gifts and lighted with candles in their homes during the Christmas season to celebrate paradise regained through the coming of Christ.
Representing many things--the original tree of paradise, the life-giving tree of Christ's cross, the tree John the Apostle saw in the Book of Revelations, "a tree of life, which yields twelve crops of fruit, one for each month of the year...for the healing of the nations"--our Christmas tree is rich in Christian symbolism.