Exodus 20:4-5a | 2 Corinthians 4:18b | Colossians 3:16
Despite their pagan roots, Christmas trees are okay.
(Get it? Pagan roots?)
In this episode of the Superbook Show, Malachi asks if Christmas trees are on God’s naughty list. And Kaitlin wisely concludes, “As long as you don’t worship your Christmas Tree…” it’s okay with God.
That’s easy enough. Who would worship their Christmas tree? It sounds silly, doesn’t it.
“You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods.”(Exodus 20:4-5a NLT)
In this, his first commandment to his people, God tells us to put him first. He tells us not to bow down to anything (submit to its influence) or worship anything (give it our highest respect or admiration) but Him. He loves us. He wants to be the one we love best.
But sometimes, we love our friends best. We love our amazing life best. Or a certain car, a certain musician, a certain sport…we love one of those best.
Sometimes we may even love Christmas best. What a wonderful holiday! The lights, the gifts, the songs…the candies, the cookies, the pies…the days off, the family visits, the traditions.
Christmas is a fantastic time of year, and worth enjoying. It comes once a year, and then it’s gone. But the gift of Jesus lasts forever.
For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.(2 Corinthians 4:18b NLT)
Is your Christmas tree pleasing to God? Don’t worry about it. This January (or later…that’s okay, too) you’ll haul that tree to the curb or back to the garage and it will be gone. But the heart of Christmas–the gift of God’s Love through his son Jesus–will last forever.
This December, take the Apostle Paul’s advice:
Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.(Colossians 3:16 NLT)
Our prayer for you this Christmas is that your life would be filled with the rich message of Christ, and that your holidays would abound with thankful songs to God.
As a side note… You might also consider celebrating Advent [add link here to Advent Wreath episode] as a way of celebrating Christ coming to the world. It’s a great way to share and celebrate the story of Jesus’ birth and the fulfilment of God’s promises to his people.
Questions for Group Discussion
- What does it mean to say that Christmas trees are a ‘pagan’ tradition? You might need to find the definition of the term ‘pagan’ to answer this.
- Are there other Christmas traditions that you find suspect? How can you reconcile these traditions with your beliefs?
- How might this question of the acceptability of Christmas trees relate to the question of eating food sacrificed to idols in 1 Corinthians 8?
- What are the “unseen things” in 2 Corinthians 4:18b? Just to be sure of your answer, consider the verse in context by reading verses 16-18.
Challenge: Traditional Redemption
Want to ‘take back Christmas’? Start by taking back the Christmas tree…
The Christmas tree may be a pagan tradition, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. Think about the symbol of the cross. Originally, it signified a horrible death at the hands of a pagan people. Today it signifies everlasting life in the hands of a loving father.
How did that happen? Christians gave it that meaning. They used it as a representation of God’s sacrificial love, demonstrated through Jesus’ death.
Try giving some similar meaning to your Christmas tree. Kaitlin noted that “some Christians see the branches [of the Christmas tree] as pointing upwards in praise to God,” with the green foliage representing eternal life.
That’s a great start. What can you add?
- Write down all the meanings you can think of for a ‘Christian’ Christmas Tree.
- Store a copy of what you wrote with your Christmas decorations to remind you each year of what your tree means in your Christmas celebration.
- Share what you wrote with friends (like us!) and start taking back the Christmas tree!