O, Christmas Tree! Put One Up or Not?

🎄 To tree or not to tree; that is the question! 🎄

There is a surprising controversy over Christmas trees. There is the “Holiday Tree vs Christmas Tree” group, and then there is the group who doesn’t want a tree at all due to old pagan customs with evergreens from centuries ago.

Christmas Tree: Yes or No?

Regarding Christmas trees: If I believed that Jesus was born on Dec. 25 and that God had set the day aside as a holy day in the Bible, my view of Christmas trees might be different. However, we don’t know when Jesus was born. Dec 25 is an arbitrary date chosen by the Catholic Church. Therefore, to me it is a special holiday set aside to remember Christ’s birth, but it is not a holy day.

Since many cultures have enjoyed bringing evergreen boughs into their homes during the winter— for a variety of reasons varying from both religious and house cleaning/scenting—I don’t think the bringing in of trees and branches has ever been confined to one culture or one false religion or one purpose. God created evergreens for food and shelter for small birds and animals and for wood, fire, building, and decorating for us.

If decorating a tree would make you feel bound to your ancestors’ pagan roots, then by all means avoid it. For me it is an issue slightly less important than meat sacrificed to idols since the origins of bringing greenery in during the winter has such a varied and complex history. As far as Christmas lights, supposedly candles on trees were the invention of Martin Luther as they reminded him of the star the wise men followed to find the Christ child. Some believe Luther is responsible for the very first Christmas tree.

For me the Christmas tree is a light in the darkness— a benign and joyful symbol of God’s Providence during the harsh winter months and a reminder of the rebirth of the land that follows the dormancy of winter’s chill.

Ultimately, it is like meat sacrificed to idols. If it offends you or causes you or a loved one to stumble, don’t put a Christmas tree up. But if it brings you joy and draws you closer to your family and God, enjoy the reminder of light in the darkness and rebirth after death.

Post your thoughts on Christmas trees in the comments below.

First published Dec. 24, 2021.

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