Americans love their Christmas trees, but what does the Bible say about having a Christmas tree up for the holidays?
Is it a sin to put up a Christmas Tree?
The “Christmas Tree” is the most popular symbol of the most celebrated holiday in America. During the holiday season, it’s normal to see Christmas trees up in every household around town. Christmas trees are grown in all 50 states in the U.S., but why do we put up the evergreens in our houses every year and decorate them from head to toe? Surprisingly the history of the Christmas tree doesn’t really have anything to do with the Bible.
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According to History Channel, the symbolic use of evergreen trees can be traced back to ancient Egypt and Rome. Before the tradition made its way to the states in the 1800s, it was adopted by the Germans.
In many cultures, it was believed that evergreen warded away evil spirits, witches, ghosts as well as unknown illnesses.
The practice made its way to the states in the 19th century after German settlers in Pennsylvania. At first, most Americans thought the Christmas tree to be a pagan symbol and was rejected. But over time the Christmas tree as well as other Christmas customs were adopted by the west and became mainstream.
Although the Bible doesn’t directly mention Christmas trees, many bible verses could be interpreted as having to do with Christmas trees.
Let’s take a look a some of the more popular verses.
One of the more popular verses that speak about the Christmas tree is Jeremiah 10:1-25:
Jeremiah 10:1-25 says:
Hear the word that the Lord speaks to you, O house of Israel. Thus says the Lord: “Learn not the way of the nations, nor be dismayed at the signs of the heavens because the nations are dismayed at them, for the customs of the peoples are vanity. A tree from the forest is cut down and worked with an axe by the hands of a craftsman. They decorate it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so that it cannot move. Their idols are like scarecrows in a cucumber field, and they cannot speak; they have to be carried, for they cannot walk. Do not be afraid of them, for they cannot do evil, neither is it in them to do good.”
This verse doesn’t necessarily apply to Christmas trees, but it does refer to the customs of the heathen who cut down trees and shaped the wood into idols. Some say this means you shouldn’t put up a tree, others believe this just means the most important thing is keeping Christ at the center of our worship.
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Leviticus 23:40 says:
And you shall take on the first day the fruit of splendid trees, branches of palm trees, and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days.
Some believe this verse means the tree is a celebratory symbol based on the worship of God. It doesn’t necessarily apply to Christmas trees, but it’s an interesting verse because of the palm tree and leafy tree reference.
Deuteronomy 16:21 says:
Thou shalt not plant thee a grove of any trees near unto the altar of the LORD thy God, which thou shalt make thee.
Although this verse doesn’t speak directly to Christmas trees, it does make a point to mention trees near the altar of the lord. Some believe this means trees shouldn’t represent the birth of Jesus, but others believe this verse doesn’t have anything to do with Christmas.
Whether you decide to put up a Christmas Tree or not, knowing and understanding the history is important. We have traditions for a reason and it’s easy to forget why we do them in the first place. With that being said, I hope each of you has a happy holiday, and let’s let history guide you to a better understanding of the future.
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