The Christmas Tree

The other day, someone brought to my attention, Jeremiah 10:1-5. They wondered if this means it’s a sin to have a Christmas tree. When I first glanced over these verses, I wondered too. So I did a little research. Here’s what Jeremiah said:

Hear what the Lord says to you, people of Israel. This is what the Lord says

“Do not learn the ways of the nations
    or be terrified by signs in the heavens,
    though the nations are terrified by them.
For the practices of the peoples are worthless;
    they cut a tree out of the forest,
    and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel.
They adorn it with silver and gold;
    they fasten it with hammer and nails
    so it will not totter.
Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field,
    their idols cannot speak;
they must be carried
    because they cannot walk.
Do not fear them;
    they can do no harm
    nor can they do any good.”

What exactly were these heathens doing? Were they cutting down a tree, bringing it in the house and decorating it with ornaments. tinsel, popcorn, etc? No, they were cutting down trees and sending them to a craftsman so that he could chisel out an idol for them to worship. This was their god.

When I researched the origin of the Christmas tree, I found that the evergreen fir tree was traditionally used to celebrate winter festivals, both pagan and Christian, for thousands of years. Pagans used the branches to decorate their homes during the winter solstice, because it made them think of the coming spring. In the 16th century, devout Christians in Germany began the practice of having decorated trees in their home.

In 2004, Pope John Paul called the Christmas tree a symbol of Christ. He said that this very ancient custom exalts the value of life, as in winter what is evergreen becomes a sign of undying life, and it reminds Christians of the “tree of life” of Genesis 2:9, an image of Christ, the supreme gift of God to humanity. Christ-mass was celebrated in Rome by 350AD and this is probably the place that the celebration of Christmas originated. The church of Rome has many traditions and most are pagan in origin.

I don’t think Christians today are bowing down before their Christmas tree and worshiping it. So, is it okay for Christians to have a Christmas tree in their homes? What about in their churches? It’s a matter of one’s conscience. While certain elements of Christmas have their origins in pre-Christian festivals that were celebrated around the winter solstice by pagans, I think it’s important not to allow these traditions to replace or take precedence over the commemoration of the birth of Christ. Mixing santa clause with Jesus Christ is just plain wrong.


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11 thoughts on “The Christmas Tree

    1. Jeremiah 10:1-5
      1  Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel:
      2  Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.
      3  For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.
      4  They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.
      5  They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree the holidays are largely pagan. To have a tree or not to have a tree, a Christian should go by their conscience. The OT is about God dealing with Israel and His setting them apart from Gentiles and giving them a myriad of laws which Gentiles were never under. In this age of grace Paul says not to judge others but each to use their conscience. For example, we are not under the tithe but give as we purpose in our hearts. Another example is some people still refrain from certain foods. They should never judge those who eat these foods and vice versa. I don’t believe that decorating a tree is a sin. We sometimes put lights on a small fir tree or bush outside because it is pretty and others enjoy seeing it. This is very different from what they were doing in Jeremiah’s day. Their purpose was to have a craftsman or workman carve the tree into an idol where they donned it with gold, etc and turned it into a god to worship. This is the same as when they made the golden calf. By doing this, they created an idol to replace God.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. We don’t do any holy days anymore after researching how they came to be from when Catholicism took over a pagan area and just tried to adopt a cleaned up version of the practices and call it Christian. We rejoice in who Christ was, what He did and who we are in Him everyday we don’t need all the religious traditions that God warned against. Besides Jesus was born in the fall nor late December. Shepherds in the fields and John the Baptist’s father’s Levitical priesthood details show this pretty clearly. But I don’t think it’s a sin if someone puts a tree up unknowingly because they read one of the perversions or rely on a church leader or traditions to tell them what to do, there the problem is being what Paul called ignorant brethren more than the tree. The fact that my mother was ok with the Christmas tree was enough to open my eyes, she was cool with Santa too but a nativity or anything to with Jesus and she wasn’t having it. I also watch how in general people make more emphasis on the tree and trappings than who they say they are celebrating. Even the candlight services become more about the ceremony than the One we should celebrate everyday.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I hate pagan holidays too. The world is largely pagan, Spiritually lost. Christmas takes on a completely different meaning to them and Christ either means nothing or is secondary, but they don’t KNOW Him. Christians keep Christ in Christmas, otherwise, the world would be darker than it already is. It is the perfect opportunity to use this time to tell people who HE is and why he came.

      No one knows when Christ was born. I have read many times that it was in the Spring on account of the weather. My wife and I have a nice meal and exchange a few gifts, just the two of us. No big gathering or party. We thank Jesus for coming into the world and saving us through His sacrificial death. We keep it very simple.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. This is so tough. From everything I have learned over the years, Jesus almost certainly was not born on the eve of December 24th. I wonder why Christians persist in this myth. We are not to lie, yet despite almost certain information we dogmatically hang on to this. And the wise men? Jesus was no longer a newborn when they arrived.
    Yet “Christian” organizations continually depict them in the manger scenes. Why? It’s not biblically true. Where is the integrity in all this? Shouldn’t we be thankful every day for Jesus’ birth? Or are we, as discussed above more taken in with pageantry and decorations than being truthful?

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    1. I totally agree. The one thing that really gets me is seeing a nativity scene outside next to santa claus. My wife and I went to a church bazaar one time and they had santa pay a visit. He was sitting in a chair. I walked up to him and said: “I don’t believe in you!” The ladies of the church laughed and thought I was so funny, but I was dead serious and trying to make a point. I would never be a member of any church where they have santa and see nothing wrong with it.

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  3. Kierrashead

    I agree emphatically! I have three children and refused to tell them the story tell of Santa Claus. I never wanted the devil to have a foothold in my house and believed the value of not lying to my children was the real issue. It’s nice hearing new things about different rituals.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. One thing to consider. Jesus Himself did attend some things, as Jesus was a jew. how many miles did Jesus walk to attend the Feast of Dedication? I just think that was worth noting. Do we celebrate Hanukkah? We are taught not to look within other books but honestly, I like Maccabees, when it comes to this subject. There was no purpose to this comment. Just something I found interesting in my studies!

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  5. Yes. it is a matter of conscience. Putting up a Christmas tree depends on the attitude of a particular Christian and what he believes about Scripture in regard to this. For some it’s okay, and for other Christians, it is not. Neither should condemn the other.

    Liked by 1 person

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