Is there a command in Scripture against Christmas Trees? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and fall out.
The most wonderful time of the year has come upon us. Here in America, the weather is getting colder and leaves are falling. Holiday shopping is going on. People are making plans to go and visit friends and family. And oh yes, Christians on the internet are wanting to tell everyone who dares to put up a Christmas tree that that is a great affront to Christ.
Yes indeed. All the signs of Christmas!
That last one doesn’t seem to fit. Some of you might be reading this and haven’t encountered these people on Facebook or anywhere else. Consider yourself fortunate. While there are some debates I don’t enter into on Facebook because others can and I’ve done it a thousand times before, this is an exception. I don’t put up with this because this kind of thinking is extremely harmful to baby Christians.
This is for those Christians really who are in your face with this stuff. I did have some friends once who wanted to ask me about the teachings of Jim Staley (You know, that guy that is in prison now on charges of fraud.) and what I thought about Christmas. They get the gentle side because I know they’re still seeking and wanting information. Too many today are quite fervent in their strides. (One this week telling me he had an anointing from God in this season of end-times revelation so I had better not disagree with him.) It’s the ones who are accusing the others that I have a problem with.
Some of you are glad for the explanation, but others are wondering, “Where does the Bible condemn Christmas trees?”. How about we just jump straight to the text? It’s in Jeremiah 10:2-4.
“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.”
Yep. There it is. God hates Christmas trees. The anti-Christmas crowd now is ready to say “Case closed” but hang on. Let’s look at the text and see what’s really going on.
Part of the problem we have here in the West is that we think everything is about us. Of all the times in the world, God was just most interested in our time. Obviously, our time has to be the end times because, hey, this is all about us. I mean, sure we have to keep changing the rules for “This generation” with regard to 1948 and Israel being founded and the six-day war and everything else, but it has to be about us!
What we have to look at is what is the context of the passage? Is Jeremiah talking about Christmas trees? Obviously not. There was no celebration of the birth of the Messiah going on. What is he talking about? Idols. You would go out and cut down a tree and use it to make an idol that would be decorated with silver and gold.
The parallel here is not to avoid decorations of silver and gold. It’s not as if God would say “Yeah. That’s fine. Go cut down an idol. Just don’t decorate it.” It’s also not as if God would be fine if you just carved something out of stone and said, “This is my idol.”
“But look, you bend down to put gifts under a tree! That’s worship!” Unfortunately, this is no more worship than a plumber bending down to a sink to fix it is worship. Gifts just go under a tree. We obviously can’t put them on top of the tree or in the leaves.
There’s also this strange notion that you would accidentally worship a tree. How does someone do that? Worship is an intentional act of treating something as the greatest good in life. Now you could say we do worship many things in this life in putting them first, but I have never seen anyone get so fixated with a Christmas tree that they centered their lives around it.
Now, why would someone use a Christmas tree in the first place? Probably just to decorate the house in the past. In an age without heating and air conditioning, if you wanted a beautiful plant in the winter in your house, it would probably need to be an evergreen. Do people have a problem with beautifying your house? Has any of this crowd ever bought flowers at the store to decorate their house? Have they ever put a flower on a loved one before a prom or some event like that? What’s the problem?
There is also another great danger here. Many of you who are arguing that all this stuff was stolen from pagans are helping out another crowd. It’s not your fellow Christians. It’s your opponents. There are people who want to claim that Christians stole everything from the pagans, including the idea of a dying and rising god. Congratulations. In this argument, you give them further ammunition. Unfortunately, most people who make this argument have never bothered to look at any documentation or used any primary sources for their claims. It doesn’t help Christianity when Christians are making the exact same claims that our opponents do. (It also stretches credulity to think that pagans in the Reformation period looked back and copied a tradition from pagans well over a thousand years ago to use a Christmas tree.)
What to do this year then? If you want to, go out and get a Christmas tree. Celebrate Christmas. Don’t live in fear of those with anti-Christmas paranoia.