A Christmas Tree?
Is this passage a denunciation of the Christmas tree? Some say yes, and others so no. Let’s briefly discuss this issue.
The use of trees or wooden poles as an object of worship in the ancient world was universal as a fertility/phallic symbol. The Bible strongly condemns involvement with this pagan custom. Obviously the tree of Jer 10 is not a Christmas tree, since Christmas as we know it didn’t enter into Christianity until about the late fifth century AD. However, the pagan implications of the Christmas tree are clear as evidenced by history, which is why it was outlawed by the Puritans and many other religious groups in America. It was not until the 1850s with many Germans migrating to America with their Christmas tree tradition that Christmas became popularized again in this country.
The scriptures advise us to abstain from all appearances of evil. At the very least, because of its pagan connotation, a Christmas tree is an appearance of evil. Furthermore, where in the Bible do we find any examples of YHVH’s people reclaiming a pagan tradition, sanitizing it, and them practicing it? This occurred only when Israel was in a state of apostasy or was attempting to syncretize the religion of the Bible with the pagan practices of the surrounding nations.
True, many things in our daily lives have been tainted by paganism. If we were to toss out everything that fits that category, we probably wouldn’t be able to say anything, wear anything, eat anything, or do anything! What we are to throw out are those things that the Bible forbids, anything that is indigenously pagan, or anything that leads us away from YHVH and his Word.
Often our view of the Scriptures is filtered through our emotions. We all struggle with this spiritual disease. When we’re extremely partial to a belief or an idea, we have a hard time conforming our lives to those Scriptures that disagree with us. Thus, we have a spiritual blind spot. For many, Christmas has become a spiritual blind spot because it is so ingrained in our families and the culture. It is perhaps the hardest thing for people to let go of because of family and emotional ties. Each of us has to make the choice: do we love the praises of family or the praises of Elohim more (John 12:43)?
Some might accuse those who see Jeremiah 10 as a denunciation of the Christmas tree of prooftexting. By definition, a prooftext is a biblical passage used to support a theological argument or position. It can’t be denied that Jeremiah 10 is the perfect description of what has come to be known as a Christmas tree. This is not prooftexting, this is fact. The Word of Elohim says don’t do it. This is fact. I didn’t make it up, I just read it and believe it. Furthermore, to view Jeremiah 10 as a stand alone scripture or prooftext is incorrect. When Jeremiah 10 is placed against the larger context of the heathen practices of the Gentile cultures around ancient Israel, and against the Bible’s repeated prohibitions against (a) Israel’s adopting pagan religious practices of any kind, and (b) more specifically, not bringing into Israel the worship of the pagan fertility symbols of which the tree was a central object, YHVH’s prohibition against the Jeremiah 10 tree was much wider and broader implications. Basically, YHVH says “don’t do it,” and for me that settles it. YHVH wants a people for his own who will unquestioningly obey his word; who are of a contrite heart and tremble before (i.e., obey) his word (Isa 66:2).
Elohim has given us seven biblical feasts that we can do that will bring glory and honor to him. Let’s practice and rejoice in what he has given us.Continue reading