The Christian and The Christmas Tree. Should Christians Do As The “Heathen” Do?

Christmas Tree

Ok. I know that this blog may hit some nerves, but my hope is that it causes you to think and of course, I welcome opinions of how you feel about celebrating Christmas (pagan) holidays.

I will do this blog on Christmas and the Christmas tree, since that holiday season is upon us.  Putting up Christmas trees is something that has been done for centuries. It is something that is passed down from generation to generation. Many people get joy from putting up Christmas trees and enjoy the soothing affects of the lights and ornaments. For many, putting up the Christmas tree is a time for the family to come together and take ease from their otherwise busy lives. While for others, it is just something they like to do. No problem, right?

Then there are those who strictly forbid putting up a Christmas tree and celebrating Christmas at all. To them, it is pagan in nature and the Christian should have no part in anything that is considered pagan. They feel that Jesus was NOT born on December 25th so Christmas is not something that a true Christian should participate in. (I, too, have a problem with the tradition of Jesus being born on December 25th, but that is another blog). Those who believe Christmas/Christmas Tree is a pagan holiday have a go-to verse that they stand on and that is found in Jeremiah 10:1-10 and it reads as follows:

1 Hear ye the word which the Lord speaketh unto you, O house of Israel: 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. 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. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. 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. Forasmuch as there is none like unto thee, O Lord; thou art great, and thy name is great in might. Who would not fear thee, O King of nations? for to thee doth it appertain: forasmuch as among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, there is none like unto thee. But they are altogether brutish and foolish: the stock is a doctrine of vanities. Silver spread into plates is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz, the work of the workman, and of the hands of the founder: blue and purple is their clothing: they are all the work of cunning men. 10 But the Lord is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation.

Now, at first glance, the Hebrews were told by God not to learn the ways of the nations (KJV says “heathens”). next, God explains what He meant….basically, don’t cut down trees to make idols out of.

The big debate among Christians is this: If one puts up a tree in their home or church, is it paganism? Are you/they actually worshiping the tree?

I have never seen anybody pray to or worship a Christmas tree. although there is one song that does pay homage to the Christmas Tree (I have found a couple of varying verses. You can check them out here –  and here.

On the other hand, there are some who would disagree saying that if you place gifts under the tree, you have to bow to it to get the gifts from under it, thus performing a certain degree of idol worship. I have heard someone even say that “when you put a gift under a tree, you are putting it there for the tree to protect the gifts until you are ready to open them”. Now, to me, that is a little far fetched, but people believe what they want to believe. Does putting up a Christmas tree make one an idol worshiper? I don’t think so..in my opinion. However, if one feels guilty about putting up a Christmas tree, then by all means, don’t doit.

Here is another Scripture I came across for this blog. It is in Isaiah 44:14-19 and it reads:
He cut down cedars, or perhaps took a cypress or oak. He let it grow among the trees of the forest, or planted a pine, and the rain made it grow. 15 It is man’s fuel for burning; some of it he takes and warms himself, he kindles a fire and bakes bread. But he also fashions a god and worships it; he makes an idol and bows down to it. 16 Half of the wood he burns in the fire; over it he prepares his meal, he roasts his meat and eats his fill. He also warms himself and says, “Ah! I am warm; I see the fire.” 17 From the rest he makes a god, his idol; he bows down to it and worships. He prays to it and says, “Save me; you are my god.” 18 They know nothing, they understand nothing; their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see, and their minds closed so they cannot understand. 19 No one stops to think, no one has the knowledge or understanding to say, “Half of it I used for fuel; I even baked bread over its coals, I roasted meat and I ate. Shall I make a detestable thing from what is left? Shall I bow down to a block of wood?”

So, my question is this: Was God, through the prophets Jeremiah and Isaiah, condemning the CHRISTMAS TREE, or was HE (GOD) condemning the act of  IDOL WORSHIP?

Remember Exodus 20: 3-5 Ten Commandments

My next question is this: Was there a such thing as Christmas Trees in the Bible, especially in the Old Testament because Christmas is supposedly to be about the birth of Jesus and Jesus was not born during the time of Jeremiah and Isaiah. So, could GOD really have been talking about what we know as the Christmas tree? It does sound very similar (“They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter” Jeremiah 10:4)

In research, I found an interesting article here.  It is entitled, “Why December 25?” In this article, you’ll find and indepth explanation of HOW CHRISTMAS was originated and made into a Christian holiday.

My husband and I don’t put up a Christmas tree but when we used to, it was always in the corner and the gifts were never put under the tree, but rather near the tree. Also, my husband would not allow anyone to open up any gifts until AFTER he read the nativity story in Luke 2:1-20.

Personally, I will use any opportunity to tell people about Jesus’ birth, death, burial and resurrection. If December 25th is observed for Jesus’ birth by the world and the church, I feel that it is a great opportunity to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I don’t put people down for putting up Christmas trees, but I do try to let them know that the real reason for Jesus’ birth and it totally has NOTHING TO DO WITH A CHRISTMAS TREE or tangible gifts. The real gift is ETERNAL LIFE.

Call to Salvation:
The Christmas Tree, while beautiful to look upon, has no power to save anyone. Do you know Jesus Christ as Savior? Have you confessed Him with your mouth and believed in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead? If not, I offer you JESUS. I submit to you that HE is the Son of God and that HE came to this earth to sacrifice HIS life for our sins so that we can be back in right relationship with God the Father. Jesus shed His precious blood for you and I so that we can have everlasting life. Do you believe that? Will you accept Jesus as your Savior today?

Read these Scriptures for more clarity:

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Please leave comments. God bless.

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26 thoughts on “The Christian and The Christmas Tree. Should Christians Do As The “Heathen” Do?”

  1. I can say a whole bunch of things about Christmas and Christianity from my standpoint as an atheist, but I’ll just focus on the questions.

    Yes, God through the prophets Jeremiah and Isaiah was condemning setting up Christmas trees. Although the arguments surrounding “why” are fallacious at best, it’s hard to dispute that what the Bible says is actually what it says. Even before that God prohibited such innocuous things as creating works of art (in the Ten Commandments, God commands the Israelites not to create graven images, or any depiction of anything in the sky, on the earth or in the sea). I’d say faux-Christmas trees are “depictions” of real trees, and thus violate the commandments. But real trees were once seen as gods. I think the goal of the Jews, at least, was to separate themselves from the practices of not only pagan cultures, but of their own ancestors (who were pagan and polytheist prior to God’s establishment as the national God of Israel).

    On to the second question, no, there was no such thing as “Christmas” trees in the Old Testament. That wouldn’t make sense. But the OT prohibitions would still apply to Christmas trees. Especially since trees (including Fir Trees) were used in such winter festivals as the Roman Saturnalia (a celebration for the God Saturn, which coincides with the Winter Solstice). I think Jews, who were also contemporaries of the Roman Empire, would’ve known of these pagan celebrations, and would have been strictly against them. One questions the tradition, the legitimacy, with an understanding of Roman influence on the early Church. Bear in mind that the majority of bishops were Roman and the church was established in Rome, under a formerly pagan emperor.

    I’d disagree, however, that simply putting up a Christmas tree, decorating it, and placing gifts under it, is somehow a form of idolatry. You’re not worshiping or bowing down to a Christmas tree in the act of retrieving your gifts any more than you’re worshiping a desk in the act of retrieving a pen you dropped beneath it. The logic fails there, and anyone who’d argue the idolatrous nature of Christmas trees needs to take into account ALL actions, which require a person to bend, bow, or prostrate themselves. Are those actions, too, to be considered “worship”?

    In my view, and just like you said, if a person of a particular faith or denomination finds it wrong, it’s their prerogative not to engage in the practice of putting up a Christmas tree. Sounds like Jehovah’s Witnesses. Don’t put up the tree, Nativity scenes, or crosses in the churches. Fine. But it’d be a stretch to condemn other Christians or even we secular people who do choose to engage in the practice of putting up a Christmas tree. For my part, I’d do because I like the lights, and decorating a Christmas tree falls right in line with my want to be able to “design” things, adorn them how I see fit. But I’m not going to worship a tree, even though I can safely say that trees are a large part of why humans are able to exist on this earth. Without trees, we’d probably die of Carbon poisoning.

    Per your last statement, it is an appropriate opportunity to proselytize. I mean, the major holiday of Christianity and preaching to we whom you see as in need of saving makes perfect sense. Christmas (or rather, the Christmas season) and preaching go hand in hand. Truth to tell, I doubt a birthday would matter to a God. Something like that, beyond temporal existence and so far removed from time, would hardly care of a mere day celebrated each year. I’m assuming from the standpoint of an omnipotent being who can touch past, present and future at once, with no distinction made the way humans would make the distinction. I’d say it’s far more important for Christians to practice what Jesus taught, to show that example, if Christians would like to affect the minds of people who lean my direction. Americans largely fail at that, with our want for war, material possessions, and control over everything.

    In sum, I think I agree with you. You’re not a idolater if you put up a Christmas tree. And if God exists, I’m certain that God is not so stupid as to think you are actually worshiping a tree. I think people of the Faith, regardless of denomination, should give God a little more credit if they believe God is what they say God is: omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, omnibenevolent, etc.

    Good stuff, Mother.

    1. I am not one to go against God. I don’t put up a Christmas tree but I did at one point in my life. When I was told about Jeremiah 10, and then I read it for myself, I did have a feeling that I was being disobedient by putting up a tree. I did know that I wasn’t “worshiping” it, but I did feel a sense of guilt because I did read for myself that the heathens were making idols out of trees. But upon further research, the people cut down the tree SPECIFICALLY to make an idol. That’s why I referenced the second scripture in Isaiah. My take on the matter is this, if one is convicted in his/her heart about putting up a tree, please don’t do it. God doesn’t want us to follow any worldly things which pertain to idolatry or “sin”. I was careful to insert the 10 commandments (which many break quite often). So, when it comes to the Christmas Tree and the need to have or not have one, let us consider obeying the entire Bible and how much of it we really do obey.

      Do we do any of the things listed in the Ten Commandments? What about the things listed in Galatians 5:19-21 “19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
      20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God”. What about what Jesus taught in Mark Chapter 7
      “21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: 23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man”.
      So, as Christians, we should not pick and choose WHAT we will observe or obey.

      I am so glad that God is God because if He weren’t, many would be destined to hell.

      Thank you for commenting, son. I appreciate it.

      1. I think you have to ask, what of all the Laws and what of Paul claiming that God will have mercy on whom God deigns?

        I’d say this: while I believe that the Bible strictly forbids idolatry of any kind, innocuous or otherwise, I think that it also speaks to a specific people in a specific region of the world at a specific time in history. That is, is it relevant to the 21st century, an era wherein people do not typically worship trees (wherein we do quite the opposite with respect to destroying whole forests)? I’d also say, one man’s idol is another man’s trash is another man’s currency is another man’s all but meaningless decoration.

      2. It did speak to specific people during a specific time. However, like you wrote, God/the Bible strictly forbids idolatry in both the Old and New Testaments, so I think that it is something to seriously consider….whether the idol be a Christmas tree, money, children/grandchildren, a car, spouse, significant other, house, jewelry, television, social media, other people, drugs, clothes/shoes, purses, cell phones, drugs/alcohol, pets, furniture, food, or whatever. If it is an idol, God/the Bible forbids it.

  2. Wow, you totally glossed over the part where people are to fear god. Let that sink in, FEAR god. The god of love, fear him. Never mind your warm feelings, fear him. That is the only lesson we need for the holiday season – FEAR god. Forget your celebrations, FEAR god. In case that was not clear, FEAR your god. FEAR him. Be afraid, be very afraid. FEAR your god. Fear, FEAR, FEAR…. fear your god.

    1. myatheistlife, I wrote about what I wanted to write about and despite what you believe, I don’t serve God out of FEAR, FEAR, FEAR. I am sorry that you think Christians have a god that is ALL ABOUT FEARING HIM. I do fear God, but it is a respectful fear, a reverential fear. I also LOVE GOD (WHICH HE TEACHES US TO DO) and I want to do what is right.
      If I believe in God and the Bible is wrong, what have I lost? If I don’t believe in God and the Bible is real, ummm,….
      Here is a “quote” I got from your page but I am going to change it slightly,
      You wrote; “These are my thoughts on life and living without god. You don’t have to agree with them. Enjoy them… or don’t. Your life is what you make of it.”

      I say,
      “So, These are my thoughts on life and living WITH GOD.. You don’t have to agree with them. Enjoy them… or don’t. Your life is what you make of it.”

  3. I’m going to have to agree with the atheistic commentator above and say, No, I do not see putting up a Christmas tree as constituting a form of idol worship. Now kissing the feet of marble statues until the feet have literally been worn away by human lips as has happened at the entrance to the Vatican is definitely idol worship. But erecting a Christmas tree, No. And I, even though I am a Christian, do not partake of the practice, but not for any reasons that have to do with idol worship. I just prefer to spend my Christmastimes in as much in-depth Bible study as I can manage, and by not partaking of the more commercial aspects of the season, I have been able to find the money at my disposal to build a considerable Christian library of somewhere around 14-1500 books. As a single person, with no family ties, and a disability that makes close friendships difficult to maintain at best, I think our Savior would be quite happy with me celebrating this season which (despite it not being His actual birth-date), we have come to recognize as the season we celebrate as the season of His birth, in the manner which I have chosen to do. I study His word year round, but try to devote even more time in the Christmas season. As for others choosing to celebrate with a tree as part of the festivities, why not? My father told me in Poland they used to bring a sheaf of wheat into the house, cover the floor in straw, hide peanuts in the straw, and the children would hunt for them. So there you go. I doubt that that was idol worship either, and though they were Orthodox, they were still Christians. Anyway, have a great Christmas. God bless.

    1. Thank you dbp49 for your comment. I like your position of in-depth Bible study during the Christmas season.
      I don’t do the “traditional” Christmas shopping and gift-giving (more recently because I have not been able to afford it because I can’t work due to disability). The last few years when I was working, I still didn’t partake in the gift giving of Christmas. But honestly, I have grown tired of the commercialism of it all. Being inundated with commercial after commercial trying to get people to buy that which will eventually perish, is not appealing to me at all. To be perfectly honest with you, dbp49, it gets on my nerves.
      Thank you again for your comment. God bless you as well.

  4. Let me explain what I heard you say:

    ” 7 Who would not fear thee, O King of nations? for to thee doth it appertain: forasmuch as among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, there is none like unto thee.”

    ” I submit to you that HE is the Son of God and that HE came to this earth to sacrifice HIS life for our sins so that we can be back in right relationship with God the Father. Jesus shed His precious blood for you and I so that we can have everlasting life. ”

    Blood sacrifice because god the father cannot simply forgive. Yep, that’s what I call omnibenevolent. Who would not fear such a god? Surely you fear him? right? Now you offer an insurance policy. Do you really think that an omniscient god cannot see your cowardly morals? You are told to fear him and you offer an insurance policy to me by way of Pascal’s wager. BTW, a weekend as “dead” is not really a sacrifice.

    If you want no one to ask questions why blog? If you want no one to question your ideas, why blog? I don’t delete comments or ban anyone. You are free to come and preach or argue on my blog.

    I’d like to meet your god face to face. Bring it on, get him on down here. I have no fear of him. Read that again. I have no fear of him. Can you say the same?

    1. I did not say that you could not ask questions.

      I don’t really understand your rant except that you wanted to get that off of your chest.

      You are entitled to believe WHATEVER you want to believe, JUST AS I AM. So, if you choose NOT TO FEAR GOD, that’s your business and your business alone.

      One would have to believe in something to fear it.

      Just because YOU don’t believe in GOD, don’t knock those who do. Each person has the right to believe what he/she wants to believe.

      This post was about Christmas and Christmas trees. I am not about to make it about you and your decision not believe in God.

      Thank you!

      1. Again, even though I quoted it for you, you glossed right over the scripture that says to fear god.

        I’m not on a rant. I’m trying to point out what you posted and the problem with that. Primarily how you are ignoring this.

      2. This post is not about fearing God or not fearing Him. You want people to know that you don’t fear God and that’s your choice. I fear God and I love God. You don’t do either one because you don’t believe in HIM so WHY keep on responding?

        I do not like the disrespect you are displaying on my blog. It’s okay to let people know that you don’t believe in God, but I do. My son claims to be an atheist, but he in no way disrespected my God or my beliefs in God. .

        If you cannot respect my beliefs, as I am yours, then please keep it moving. It would be nice if you would follow you own quote instead of trying so hard to discredit what I am saying. You have tried to change the context of this blog because your beliefs are vastly different from mine.

        For someone who does not believe in God, you sure do talk a lot about him. Now I see why. Some of your blogs explain a lot. However, those are YOUR BELIEFS.

      3. I was not/am not trying to attach you personally. I read a lot of blog posts and comment on the parts that give me a hichup in my reading, things that are not seeming right. I did not mean to offend, I’m simply pointing out what seemed wrong to me. I’ll drop it.

    2. MAL, Sahm here. Listen, I reblogged this for two reasons: it’s my Mother’s post, and the discussion was more or less about the place of the Christmas tree with respect to Christmas. I don’t believe my mother is interested in debating those broader points. Not that you cannot speak on them, but I don’t think that they’re pertinent to this particular discussion. You’re already aware that I agree with you, for the most part. But for the sake of…diplomacy, let’s save rest of this for another blog. Let’s say, blogs that are actively going out of the way to burn atheists in hell. Whilst I do disagree with my Mother, with respect to knocking beliefs (as all ideas are open to being dismantled), I would beg relevance to the topic.

      Is the Christmas tree a pertinent part of the religion? What does the Bible say of it? What do you suppose God thinks (suspending disbelief for a moment and assuming God does exist)? Or is it a waste of time worrying over, arguing about, etc?

      1. Sahm, fair enough. I’m not trying to start wars, just pointing out a thing that stuck in my throat as I read.

        There are no Christmas traditions that meet with biblical approval, graven images and such plus the pagan origin of most of it. To me, traditions are bust, no point wasting time, make your own traditions as they are probably more useful than those given to us by Hallmark and CocaCola etc.

        No ill wishes for your mother or you any time of the year. I hope the best for all your family and all mankind. I’m just pointing out what stuck out as I was reading. No personal offense meant.

      2. That is true. One of my contentions with the Bible is that, were it to be taken literally, a lot of us would be dead. Personally, I think Christmas is a too commercialized festival, but one cannot avoid as much in a capitalist nation. Not that I really care. I barely celebrate any holiday. Hell, I don’t even celebrate my own birthday.

        I know there are no ill wishes. My Mother’s a good person, and, while she has not necessarily accepted my viewpoints (and I have many she will either dispute or will likely upset her), she has done the opposite of a lot of Christian parents who have atheist children. I respect her for that, and will tend towards defending her in debates. Not her points, mind you, but I’d be inclined to keep things on a particular track. Don’t worry. I understand you mean no offense. If we can get my Mom’s husband in on this, you two might be talking for hours.

      3. LOLOLOLOL I’m all for a good conversation, as you know. It is good to learn something new on the internet that makes it a bit more personal. Hello Sahm’s Mom. I’m not a bad guy, I just play one on the internet 🙂

      4. I’m typically blunt. It is not a matter of disrespect. I’m responding to words, not persons. It takes a lot for someone to make me disrespect them. Thoughts and ideas are a different story.

        Just so we’re clear, what tripped me up is that you quoted the very scripture that says there should be no christmas trees, along with it is the notion that we should fear god. When I am reading there is a flow in my head and such things make the flow stop/stumble/falter … that is when I comment.

        There are those that are far more religious than yourself or your post which I ignore because it does not trip me up reading their posts.

        I apologize if it felt like a personal attack. It was not. I was simply trying to point out what seemed wrong to me.

      5. In real life it is the same. People sometimes look at me like I should have sugarcoated whatever I just said somehow. Their face goes a bit blank and their eyes say “what do you mean when you say I’m too stupid to work here?” but no words come out of their lips so I figure I just said it too bluntly… sigh

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