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The modern custom of a Christmas tree does not come from any form of paganism. There is no evidence of any pagan religion decorating a special holiday tree for their mid-winter festivals, although ...
If you worship and idolize a pine tree or any thing, then that would not be in keeping with the Word. But if it's just a decoration, then theirs nothing wrong with it. As long as ALL I do is for the Glory of the Lord and not for any one else or another god, then it is permissible... 1Cr 10:31 NIV - So whether you eat or drink or WHATEVER YOU DO, do it all for the glory of God. All Glory and Praise to the Lord!
While the Christmas Tree does have pagan roots, whether one keeps one or not is up to one's own conscience. See the related eBible topic, "Should Christian's celebrate Christmas?", as the issue is much the same. Jer 10:5 has a great application for how we treat Christmas trees: "....they can do no harm, nor can they do any good". A tree is simply a created object, with no meaning of itself (I Cor 10:14-33). Our choices in such matters should depend on personal conscience. The most frequent mention in the Bible of sacred trees used in pagan worship are the "Asherah poles", which were trees and wood poles, usually planted near high places or alters. Asherah/Astarte was a Semitic mother-goddess. These trees were not specifically tied to the winter solstice. [Ex 34:13, Deut 16:21-22, Deut 7:5, Jud 6:25-27, I Kings 15:13, II Kings 26:3, etc]. Further allusion to the use of sacred trees in worship is made in Jer 10:1-5 (As pagans used asherah poles, carved idols, decorated trees, etc). In Is 14:5-8, in some wonderful wordplay, Isaiah shows the trees rejoicing that the wicked have been laid low and can no longer cut the trees down. Trees are found early on in history, as far back as Babylon, in conjunction with the solstice and sun-worship (Ezek 8:16-17). Ancient religions incorporated symbols of the sun and renewal, such as the tree, into the ‘Mysteries’ of their religion, revealing the secrets of their gods over time to those who participated. For example, if you were in Phrygia in 200B.C, you might have participated in the Mysteries of the god Attis. A pine tree was cut down every year, a six-pointed star placed atop, and the image of a boy within - but what did this mean? Over time, you would be indoctrinated into the mysteries by others who had already received them: that the god Attis died Dec 25th under a pine tree. His virgin-goddess mother placed him in a grave, but he later arose and imparted immortality to the tree. Various symbols and rituals would describe these things. Further mysteries would be revealed the more times you participated. This is perhaps the most important thing to consider in regards to the Christmas Tree - that the pagans needed rites and rituals, the ‘Mysteries’ and Passion Plays, to learn the secrets of their gods. [Here in Washington State, the ‘Eleusinian Mysteries’, which go as far back as 1500 B.C., are actually still held during the Spring Mysteries Festival]. Most every ancient culture had some form of these mysteries involving the annual death/birth of a sun-god. Branches, greenery, trees, logs, decoration, candles, and even gift exchanges featured in various forms in most, as the tree was a symbol of fertility and renewal. Often the sun-gods were portrayed as a branch or cut-off stump, reborn into an eternal evergreen tree. Yet, scripture states that the only “Mystery” a christian needs is the simplicity of the gospel, Christ in us. (Col 1:24-29, Eph 3:1-6, Col 4:1-6). In contrast to the fraudulent religions that Babylon spawned (Rev 17:4-6), we do not have to go through annual rituals in the vain hope of discovering another secret about God. Subsequently, it is very good to ask the question “Why?” of any work, ritual, or tradition that we find ourselves devoted to. It is not that we cannot do works (like circumcision), that we cannot perform rituals (like cleaning hands), or that we cannot have religious traditions (like a unity candle at a marriage). Rather, do we operate as if that work/ritual/tradition is needed or more godly? Are we learning of Christ more through things/symbols, or by talking to him directly? Are we complicating the teaching and evidence of the gospel in favor of sensation and tradition?
The Israelites were warned by God not to imitate the Gentiles in every way, shape or form; not even to ask advice from them regarding how they worshipped their gods. If we do something that even remotely mimics the way of the pagans, we greatly displease God. What does a decorated tree have anything to do with the birth of Christ, except that Christ died on a tree? Christmas tree has pagan origins; christianising and modernizing it does not make it acceptable before God.
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