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Should a Christian put up a Christmas tree????

The Question:

Jeremiah 10:2-5 This is what the LORD says: "Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the sky, though the nations are terrified by them. For the customs 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 melon patch, 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."

I have read that this passage tells us not to put up Christmas trees because of what Jeremiah says here. Should a Christian put up a Christmas tree???? What about other holiday customs?

The Answer:

I have heard this passage quoted against using Christmas trees. However, the full passage in context states that the tree is cut, shaped and carved into an idol, a graven image, covered with silver and gold, fastened to a base so it won't fall down. The idol has a mouth, but cannot speak. It has legs, but cannot walk and must be carried.

Also later in the same chapter, Jeremiah says:
Jeremiah 10:8-9 They are all senseless and foolish; they are taught by worthless wooden idols. Hammered silver is brought from Tarshish and gold from Uphaz. What the craftsman and goldsmith have made is then dressed in blue and purple-- all made by skilled workers.
Jeremiah 10:14-15 Everyone is senseless and without knowledge; every goldsmith is shamed by his idols. His images are a fraud; they have no breath in them. They are worthless, the objects of mockery; when their judgment comes, they will perish.

This clearly shows that Jeremiah was talking about idols, gods made by the hand of man and then worshipped.

So there's a difference between cutting down a tree - or any plant - and bringing it into your home as a decoration AND using wood to create an idol that you bow down and worship. There may be other passages that do apply to this custom, but in my opinion this is not one of them.

Martin Luther is credited with being the first to create a Christmas tree. I know a lot of people have mixed feelings about it. My suggestion is to pray about it and do what the Lord leads.

As for Christmas, there seems to be a lot of controversy over what customs to honor, which are pagan, etc. We need to follow the guidelines in Romans 14 and 15 about disputable matters. For a fuller explanation of this, see my site called
Doubtful Disputations.

A rule of thumb here: Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Whatever we do to celebrate any holiday should honor Jesus in word and deed. AMEN

As for other Christmas traditions, I never taught my children about Santa Claus either. I explained that Christmas was the celebration of Jesus’ Birthday, and that we buy gifts for each other to celebrate. We also had a birthday cake and bought gifts for the needy several times. But this too is another matter each individual has to decide for themselves. The biggest problem with Santa is that he doesn’t exist, and it is actually a lie to tell our children stories about him. The alleged basis of the legend of Santa is a real person, true, Saint Nicolas, but he’s been dead a long time, doesn’t live at the North Pole, doesn’t go down chimneys, etc.

As for the DATE of Christmas, it probably was NOT December 25, but was probably in the spring near Passover - we just don't know. Some believe Jesus was born in September, but there was no record made to establish any specific date. I see no need to change the date of the celebration, though for several reasons. First, it really doesn’t matter so much WHEN we celebrate Jesus’ coming, but THAT we remember it, and all that resulted from it. I have written several poems and a meditation linking Jesus’ birth to His death and Resurrection – which was the whole point of Him coming in the first place.

Secondly, the date is already established by tradition and trying to change it to another day (which no one agrees on anyway) would just cause more confusion and discord. And thirdly and most importantly, Christmas, despite commercialization, DOES have a great impact on the world for brotherly love and considering what the coming of Jesus means. For more information check out my Holiday section.

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