Posted by: everynation | December 25, 2009

O Christmas Tree

by Brett Fuller

Jeremiah 1:1-4, “Hear the word which the LORD speaks to you, O house of Israel. 2Thus says the LORD, “Do not learn the way of the nations, and do not be terrified by the signs of the heavens although the nations are terrified by them; 3 For the customs of the peoples are delusion; because it is wood cut from the forest, the work of the hands of a craftsman with a cutting tool. 4”They decorate it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, so that it will not totter.”

This passage has been used to justify a biblical position against Christmas trees. I must say, I can’t remember hearing a poorer interpretation and application of a passage in my life. Jeremiah was trying to stop people from going into the woods, cutting down a tree, carving it into an idol and making it look more “alive” by ornating with it custom jewelery. Please understand…

1. There were no Christmas trees in the late 6th century BC. Why? THERE HADN’T BEEN A REASON FOR THE SEASON! Jesus had not yet been born. Duhh…
2. This passage was spoken by God and penned by Jeremiah to prohibit idolatry (see Isaiah 44). Putting up a Christmas tree is not idolatrous- unless of course you choose to bow down in front of it, ask it to make your Christmas the best ever by filling your home with gifts and then sing praise songs to its glorious beauty. I would think that if someone did that, they might have more issues than just idolatry.
3. Christmas trees, with all of the trimmings, were intended to remind the believer of the that Light of Christ which had come into a dark world. I have been told that the ornaments have a two fold purpose. They’re intended to be “fruit-like” reminding us of our responsibility to be productive Christians and they are to be personalized, annually reminding us of the wonderful moments past Christmases have brought us.

Now, please note. I am not down on those folks who have a PREFERENCE about not putting up a Christmas tree in their home. How they celebrate Christmas is their prerogative. However, if they base their decision on a scriptural prohibition it would be good if a little proper Biblical interpretation were practiced. That way a preference won’t become a doctrine which in turn becomes a spiritual hammer to beat down those who choose to practice an alternative.

Those who choose not to incorporate a Christmas tree in their holiday tradition have done no wrong by their omission. However, neither have those who have chosen otherwise. Live right, live well.

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Responses

  1. While I agree with much of what you say I am sure you are aware of the pagan influences that where brought in and amalgamated into church customs. The verse you quoted sounds incredibly similar to the trees we see today. Our family celebrate Christmas but choose to leave out the paganised and what we believe are offensive to God rituals.
    We are definitely finding more believers who have similar values.
    Blessings Paul

  2. The Scripture that addresses the cutting down of the tree, bringing it into the home, and decorating it with silver and gold, is found in Jeremiah 10.

    Your explanation of this Scripture will be a relief to many people who, let’s be honest, just don’t WANT to give up this lovely and quaint tradition; they will be delighted that a pastor in your position has given them permission to continue this practice guilt-free.

    However, I don’t believe that your plog on the subject goes nearly deep enough in truly seeking and digging and earnestly desiring to discover what pleases and honours God; what does He, in His Word, reveal to us about how He regards customs and traditions that His children continue to practice?

    Jeremiah 10 might be easily dismissed by some people (especially with the help of your plog) but it is certainly enough to make me uncomfortable about Christmas trees and prompt me to look closely at and rethink this tradition, its origins and its symbolism. It is also important, for those who really want to find out whether or not this is pleasing to our Lord, to ask questions like, why do we erect it in our homes so prominently, why do we place gifts at its base, why does this take place around December 25th, why do we decorate it with symbols that are definitely not Christian and often pagan and satanic?

    (And, please remember, that the Christmas tree is strongly linked with the myth of Santa Claus and the totally ungodly, anti-Gospel message hammered into our children each year that Santa will come and leave gifts under the tree IF you have been good! The Gospel message is very clear that the Gift of Jesus is given freely and to the worst sinners. So, we have two very conflicting stories each Christmas, and Christians give massive weight to the one that contradicts the Biblical message by bringing its symbols into our homes and displaying them so prominently.)

    I think that it is incorrect to imply that a certain practice is acceptable as long as you don’t make the thing an idol. Scripture is very clear that God is a jealous God and He wants us to rid ourselves and our homes of every hint of pagan/heathen tradition or custom. This includes symbols, signs, objects…anything that reminds God that His children once ran after other gods. We are to abstain from any thing polluted by idols.

    In the same way that you would probably not leave around your house mementoes or photographs from previous relationships, in full view of your wife, regardless of whether or not you pay attention to or idolise them or the person they represent, so it hurts our Lord when we decorate our homes with pagan symbols (and it hurts our relationship with him, and can even be dangerous.)

    And it is pretty easy to uncover the heathen symbolism and origin of the Christmas tree. You don’t have to look far. Just ask your nearest pagan or witch. They are thrilled that Christians unite with them each year at this time, adopting a whole bunch of their traditions and customs. The Christian whitewash given to the season doesn’t concern them at all – we have their great big memento lit up and centre stage in our living rooms!


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