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In Defense Of The Christmas Tree
OrthodoxNet ^ | 12/24/2010 | Fr. Daniel Daly

Posted on 12/24/2010 11:38:21 AM PST by ezfindit

Our Christmas tree is derived, not from the pagan yule tree, but from the paradise tree adorned with apples on December 24 in honor of Adam and Eve. The Christmas tree is completely biblical in origin.

The use of evergreens at Christmas may date from St. Boniface of the eighth century, who dedicated the fir tree to the Holy Child in order to replace the sacred oak tree of Odin; but the Christmas tree as we know it today does not appear to be so ancient a custom. It appears first in the Christian Mystery play commemorating the biblical story of Adam and Eve.

(Excerpt) Read more at orthodoxytoday.org ...


TOPICS: Apologetics; History; Religion & Culture; Theology
KEYWORDS: christianity; christmastree; paradisetree; stboniface
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To: johngrace
Quentin Schultze

Interesting. I knew him, back in the day, when he was a lowly grad student.

21 posted on 12/24/2010 2:27:46 PM PST by Lee N. Field (Come, behold the works of the LORD, how he has brought desolations on the earth.)
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To: ezfindit

And Santa really, really does come down chimneys. Right?


22 posted on 12/24/2010 2:33:42 PM PST by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: Lee N. Field

LOL! I do not know the man but that essay is anointed! Life in Christ!


23 posted on 12/24/2010 2:36:30 PM PST by johngrace (God so loved the world so he gave his only son! Praise Jesus and Hail Mary!)
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To: vladimir998
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24 posted on 12/24/2010 3:04:09 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: ezfindit
A Savior Has Been Born !
 
Adoration of the Shepherds, by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, 1650-5

25 posted on 12/24/2010 3:04:50 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

Merry Christmas everybody!


26 posted on 12/24/2010 5:14:12 PM PST by FlyingEagle
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To: johngrace

Jeremiah 10
2Thus 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.

3For 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.

4They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.

5They 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.


27 posted on 12/24/2010 9:58:15 PM PST by SamsFriend
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To: SamsFriend
"the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe"

It's about carvings that become an statue to worship.

Jeremiah 10 and the “Pagan” Christmas Tree

by Dr. Richard P. Bucher

A number or well-meaning readers of the "Origin and Meaning of the Christmas Tree" article have written me with questions or accusations based on Jeremiah 10. These readers state that Jeremiah 10 proves that the Christmas tree is a pagan custom and is forbidden by God. Therefore, they argue, all those who decorate a Christmas tree in their home are sinning in God's sight. This is quite the serious charge. Let us briefly examine Jeremiah 10 and the argument based upon it to see if there is any merit to this argument.

What exactly does Jeremiah 10 say? Below is Jeremiah 10:1-10:

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. 3 For the customs of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel. 4 They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter. 5 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." 6 No one is like you, O LORD; you are great, and your name is mighty in power. 7 Who should not revere you, O King of the nations? This is your due. Among all the wise men of the nations and in all their kingdoms, there is no one like you. 8 They are all senseless and foolish; they are taught by worthless wooden idols. 9 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. 10 But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King. When he is angry, the earth trembles; the nations cannot endure his wrath.

The verses that the concerned readers repeatedly cite are 10:2-4: "Do not learn the ways of the nations . . . For the customs of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel. 4 They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter." "Aha!" these readers say. "Jeremiah is talking about the Christmas tree!" But closer examination reveals that he certainly is not!

First, there is the immediate context of this passage. The very next verse, 10:5, goes on to say, "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." This passage and the passages that follow make it crystal clear that the "decorated tree" that Jeremiah was talking about in 10:3-4, was a tree that was cut down and made into an idol, a very common custom in the ancient world. 10:8-10 also confirms this, where the wooden idols are contrasted with the LORD, who is the true and living God. Keil and Delitsch, the well-respected Old Testament commentary, confirms this interpretation that the trees in question were idols that were then worshiped (C. F. Keil and F. Delitsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, "Jeremiah, Lamentations," vol 8 (Grand Rapids: William B. Eeerdmans Publishing Company, 1980), 196-199).

Second, when we search the rest of the Old Testament, we find many other examples of trees being planted, cut down, or carved into idols. One of the most common examples of a tree idol was the Asherah, mentioned often in the Old Testament. Asherah was a pagan goddess that was worshiped throughout the Mediterranean world. She was considered to be the goddess of the sea, the consort of El, and the mother of Baal. She was always represented as a tree or pole, either planted or erected, then decorated. There are many warnings in the Old Testament about the Asherah tree. For example, in Exodus 34:12-14, we read, "Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going, or they will be a snare among you. 13 Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and cut down their Asherah poles. 14 Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God." From a more thorough study we learn that the Asherah idol was sometimes planted (Deut. 16:21; Micah 5:14), sometimes erected at high places (1 Kings 14:23, 2 Kings 17:10), with altars and incense stands next to them where they would be worshiped (In Judges 6:25, Gideon is commanded by God to "Tear down your father's altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it." See also Isaiah 17:8 and Jeremiah 17:2). The Asherah, along with other man-made idols, were often decorated with various cloth hangings (2 Kings 23:7), as well as gold and silver.

Isaiah 44:14-19 gives a detailed picture of how a tree was cut down and fashioned into an idol - and the absurdity of it all.

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?"

From the foregoing, it is abundantly clear that the "decorated tree" to which Jeremiah 10 refers is an idol, very likely the Asherah. Therefore, it is very superficial Bible interpretation and pure silliness to understand this passage as directly referring to the use of a fir tree for Christmas! If, and I repeat, if those who set up a Christmas tree fall down and worship it as a god or goddess, complete with altars and incense stands, then Jeremiah 10 applies here. Or if someone loves their Christmas tree more than God, then such a thing might also be considered spiritual idolatry. But apart from these exceptions, I think it is abundantly clear that Christians who erect Christmas trees are NOT worshiping them as gods or goddesses, nor are they loving them more than their Savior Jesus Christ. They are simply using the Christmas tree as a fun custom, one that can remind them of Jesus who is the branch of David (Jeremiah 23:5; 33:15), the root of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1). One that can remind them of the tree that led Adam and Eve to sin, but more importantly, the tree on which Christ Jesus died to make atonement for the sins of the whole world (Acts 5:30; Gal. 3:13; 1 Peter 2:24).

Christians should know that they can use a Christmas tree with a good conscience. It is unfortunate and wrong when well-meaning Christians call something sin that is not sin, and enslave the consciences of their fellow believers with imaginary sin! Shame on such Christians! Those who continue to believe that the Christmas tree is pagan and sinful, even after having their conscience correctly informed, should not use them. For it is not right to sin against conscience. This is regrettable, however, since there is absolutely nothing wrong with using a Christmas tree.

28 posted on 12/24/2010 10:28:43 PM PST by johngrace (God so loved the world so he gave his only son! Praise Jesus and Hail Mary!)
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To: wbarmy

The Babylon idea has been thoroughly debunked by historians. Also It’s highly probable that Jesus was born in the winter given that shepherds were in the fields outside Bethlehem at the time (summer/fall is the dry season). The only reason they would be there is because the grass had come in. The rainy season starts in November so the grass is at it’s peak in December through February.


29 posted on 12/25/2010 4:47:49 AM PST by Varda
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To: ladyL
Kislev 25 Hanukkah is when Christ was conceived, which is intermingled in dates with December 25. Making both Hanukkah and Christmas coincide with each other. Christ was conceived during Hanukkah and born on the first day of Sukkot in the Fall. This can all be proven Biblically and scripturally if anyone loves the truth and not religion.

Yahweh has such a sense of humor but truthfully all of the Holy Feasts are Yahweh's time clock and reveals His plan. It's fun to watch the clergy get tongue tied when they can't unmuddle the muddled doctrines. Only truth will clear up all the muddles :)

Amen ! Sister.
shalom b'SHEM Yah'shua HaMashiach
30 posted on 12/25/2010 9:15:07 AM PST by Uriel-2012 (Psalm 119:174 I long for Your salvation, YHvH, Your law is my delight.)
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To: wbarmy
Read “The Two Babylons” by Rev Alexander Hislop. Almost every single modern “Christmas” tradition had its invention in the Babylonian mystery cults.

A stupid and worthless book, based on 1840's archaeology (and much of that misused and/or misquoted) and a dogged dedication to the logical fallacy called "affirming the consequent". Oh, and a very superficial acquaintance with Catholicism and an Anglo-centric worldview.

It's ignorant foolishness unworthy of thinking Christians.

31 posted on 12/25/2010 4:27:10 PM PST by Campion
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To: Uri’el-2012

**Please review Jeremiah 10 for xmas trees.**

That’s why we haven’t had one in the last 28 years. God is looking for faithful people. People that justify their ‘Christmas’ trees are unbelievers of Jer. 10, as they are of other inconvenient truths. They think they are glorifying God with the ‘sacrifice’ of a tree. Obedience is better than sacrifice.

Every year, people die from xmas tree fires, so let’s just keep up this vain, lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, pride of life tradition. “Oh, but they look so pretty” (after man has covered them with his inventions).

A pine tree is at it’s height of glorfying God when it is alive, not dead and covered with jewelry.


32 posted on 12/26/2010 8:02:24 AM PST by Zuriel (Acts 2:38,39....nearly 2,000 years and still working today!)
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To: Zuriel
That’s why we haven’t had one in the last 28 years. God is looking for faithful people. People that justify their ‘Christmas’ trees are unbelievers of Jer. 10, as they are of other inconvenient truths. They think they are glorifying God with the ‘sacrifice’ of a tree. Obedience is better than sacrifice.

Amen!
Hosea 6:6 For I (YHvH) delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice,
And in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
shalom b'SHEM Yah'shua HaMashiach
33 posted on 12/26/2010 8:27:22 AM PST by Uriel-2012 (Psalm 119:174 I long for Your salvation, YHvH, Your law is my delight.)
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To: ladyL
I am in agreement with those possible dates. I have always loved the imagery of Christ “tabernacling” with man at Sukkot.

In addition, I also “feel” that our Lord will return, i.e. the Rapture, on Passover, to once again keep the angel of Death from us. No strong Biblical evidence, just a sense of the timing.

34 posted on 12/27/2010 6:43:18 AM PST by wbarmy (I chose to be a sheepdog once I saw what happens to the sheep.)
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To: Campion
I agree that there were errors in the book, and there was an obvious anti-Catholic ingredient in it, as was the norm for many Protestant writings of the time. However, the information about traditions which have been instituted into our modern Christmas and Easter celebrations are still relevant.

There is no denying the pagan origin of the tree, the easter egg, the name Easter, the rabbit, etc. Christians of the first three centuries did not really celebrate Christmas, they celebrated the Passover and Resurrection. That is the important holiday. and the only one which truly matters.

35 posted on 12/27/2010 7:01:07 AM PST by wbarmy (I chose to be a sheepdog once I saw what happens to the sheep.)
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To: ezfindit

I don’t care if it is derived from my Celtic-Briton-Saxon-Frankish roots

that matters none...it’s not quite up to witch doctors and boilng pots is it?


36 posted on 12/27/2010 7:05:26 AM PST by wardaddy ("Out Here" by Josh Thompson pretty much says it all to those who will never understand anyhow)
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To: wbarmy

THESE FEASTS ARE YAHWEH’S CLOCK!!! He gave them to us to help us see his plan. They are not JEWISH feasts, Scripture says they are Yahweh’s feasts! to be upheld througout all generations. But because the church doesn’t keep the Ten Commandments we do not keep the Feasts. If we kept the 4th Commandment we would keep the Feasts.

This has nothing to do with Moses 613 mitzvot. Those were truly abolished at the cross but the TEN COMMANDMENTS are out marriage covenant and as such should be kept faithfully. LOOK TO THE FEASTS!!! man’s doctrines pale in light of the TRUTH.


37 posted on 12/27/2010 7:41:51 AM PST by ladyL
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