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"Christmas Tree or Not?"


"Thus says the LORD: " Do not learn the way of the Gentiles; do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven, for the Gentiles are dismayed at them. For the customs of the peoples are futile; For one cuts a tree from the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the ax. They decorate it with silver and gold; they fasten it with nails and hammers so that it will not topple." 

Jeremiah 10:2-4

Every Christmas I get asked this question, "Pastor Mike, do you believe in Christmas trees?" Now that's a loaded question. People don't always know I was once a youth pastor before I went into "adult" ministry and I know how to avoid hostile questions by answering questions with questions. Even Jesus used this method when dealing with religious people. The common answer I like to give people is, "Is there such a thing?" I then look at them with that look like I have no idea what they are saying. (You know the look. My dog looks at me with this same kind of look when I talk to her). Then they usually ask, "What I am asking is should Christians have Christmas trees?" to which I respond, "that depends, how do you know if the tree is actually a Christmas tree and how do you know if the person is really a Christian or not?" By this time you hope someone else has come along so you can slide out of the conversation and leave them to debate the issue without any of you own blood being shed.

The biblical answer is, "if you can put the Christmas tree up in good faith then put it up If not and you believe that having a Christmas tree violates your conscience, then it would be wrong." (See Romans 14:23). It is not sin to have a tree and it is not sin to not have a tree. If you are thinking that my answer seems so nebulous it is because it is because I firmly believe, "in essentials, unity; in doubtful matters, liberty; in all things, charity."

It was wrong in Jeremiah 10:2-4 because the people cut down trees and fashioned trees into idols and worshipped them. Obviously, if you worship your Christmas tree you would be in sin. If you see the tree as a decoration in your home and you enjoy putting lights on it and placing gifts under it you are not compromising your faith any more than if you bought a tree and planted it in your back yard or sent flowers to a loved one. There is nothing worse at Christmas time than a believer who is legalistic and sees a Christmas tree as mark of your faith or lack of it because you put up a tree to celebrate the birth of our Savior. There is grace, loved one, and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty.

Tree or no tree is a matter of personal taste and not a reflection of your walk or love for the Lord. I remember speaking with a woman in our church who has one of the strongest walks with God of anyone I know (male or female) and she and her family decorate a palm tree that is in their living room as their Christmas tree. One of her boys remarked that he liked the idea that they don't have normal traditions. I laughed as I thought about that. I can hear the sound of the Sanhedrin now as they wrestle with that question, "Should a righteous man decorate a palm trees in place of a Christmas tree?"

With all my heart loved one, remember that Jesus is the reason for the Christmas season. Major on the majors this holiday. Focus on the fact of God's love for the world that He sent His Only Begotten Son to be born in a manger in Bethlehem to save the world and give eternal life to all who believe on His name. Focus on what really matter! Jesus came to save sinners, not to condemn them. We don't need to put Jesus back in Christmas, as He never left. Jesus is worshipped in the heavens by the host of angels and by multitudes here on earth. Don't miss the privilege we have to come and adore Him, don't miss your opportunity to join in and sing along with the host of heaven, " Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"

"Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."

Luke 2:10-11


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