Christmas Tree Truth

December 20, 2009

TREE TRUTH- CHRISTMAS IS THE REASON

THE CONFLICT

This year, my family has decided NOT to have a Christmas tree in our home. After much research, we have discovered that the origins and symbolism is- to be plain- ungodly. Now, we are a Christian family, and we take our faith quite seriously. In order for me to share our decision, I first need you, reader, to have an open mind.

If you are Christian, consider this: When you speak to an unbeliever, you hope for them to abandon their ways and turn to Christ. If they have believed for their entire life that we came from nothing and evolved from fish and monkey hybrids, you want them to accept truth and reject those false teachings. If they are grounded in a false religion, you hope that they see the folly of their way and believe in Christ Jesus as Savior. It is with the same principal that we must also approach a subject such as this. Are you willing to accept the possibility that you and your beliefs may be wrong in at least one area? Just as you expect them to listen with an open mind, you also must have the same mind, to acknowledge the idea that, just as evolution, even though millions believe something is true, it may not be.

Imagine if a pastor or some mega-preacher, wanting to draw in the worldly, decided to publicly reestablish the meaning of the symbols of Halloween. “From now on, we’ll call ‘trick-or-treat’ the Exodus journey. The passing out candy will be representative of Christ‘s gift to us. We‘ll call the costumes a depiction of 2 Corinthians 11:16.” Now, any real Christian knows the real root of Halloween is evil. It’s a reenactment of witchcraft rituals, Satanic practices, and it honors death, Satan, demons, and wickedness. No real believer in Jesus, the Son of the Living God, would follow this practice. So again, we must be willing to consider that our heritage in some rituals are formed in the same fashion. What if, generations ago, our ancestors weren’t so cautious about adopting pagan practices? The same way the world picks up trends so easily today?

 THE STORY

A few years ago, while listening to one of my favorite radio programs, a subject was mentioned which I had never before considered- The discussion made mention of not having a Christmas tree in a Christian home. My first response was disappointment. Here, one of my favorite personalities had turned, as I thought, too radical. He was obviously taking things too far. I mean, what Christian wouldn’t want a Christmas tree? The whole holiday is about Christ, right? This bothered me for a period, but I quickly put it out of my mind.

It wasn’t long, though, before I heard the issue again, this time in greater detail. Christmas trees, I was told, are idols of pagan worship. We only call them Christmas trees, but that doesn’t make them represent Christ. I decided to investigate a bit more. What I found was shocking.

THE REASON

As it turns out, we have a cultural and spiritual dilemma. An icon of an annual seasonal major event has a history unbecoming to its modern supposed purpose. I took a step back, decided to investigate impartially, allowing for whatever I found to affect me as truth, no matter my personal position or history. It is a difficult thing to be impartial to something that affects all of our society. Christmas trees are not only used in Christian homes, but secular as well, store windows, town squares, at Rockefeller Center, and even in atheist homes. So, as with most research I do, I pretended I had never heard of such a thing. How strange to take a few steps back and consider why we cut down a tree, fix it up in our home, put lights and decorations on it, and store gifts beneath it. An odd practice, don’t you think?

I had heard that it was a practice of a pagan god, so I wanted to find out who this “god” was, and what the practices involved were. I found that the god was named “Asherah”. Asherah is also known as the “Queen of Heaven” in Scripture (see Jeremiah 7:18; 44:18-19), and as Artemis (Acts 19:27, 34) by the Ephesians. Some even liken her/ it to the Roman goddess Venus. Asherah was worshipped in ancient Israel as the consort of El, and also in Judah as the consort of Yahweh. This may be linked to the term “Mother Nature”, which is also found in paganism and forms of witchcraft. The Hebrews involved burnt offerings, the baking of small cakes, and poured out drink offerings as worship, and plainly refused to adhere to the Word of the True God (Jeremiah 44:16-19). Asherah poles are mentioned in the Biblical books of Exodus, Deuteronomy, Judges, both first and second Kings, the second Book of Chronicles, and the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Micah.

Scholars have indicated, however, that the plural use of the term Asherahs, as Asherim or Asherot, provides ample evidence that reference is being made to objects of worship rather than a transcendent figure. Typical practice included cutting a tree down to affix in a central or convenient location for worship. They would often carve a figure into the base of the tree trunk to give an image to the deity. (Similar to the statues at temples, the Israelites golden calf, Egyptian stone carvings, etc.) Decorations were often fashioned of silver, gold, wood, or were woven. (See Jeremiah 10:4; 2 Kings 23:7) The tree was meant as a phallic symbol, the hanging balls as testes, types of tinsel & garlands signified semen, and wreathes as a symbol of the womb, yet still representing a male sun deity.

During the late middle ages, the little balls were interpreted by Christians to be “witch balls”, borrowed from witchcraft, to attract, then capture “evil” spirits. Gift offerings were placed under the tree to the god. (Sound familiar yet?)

 Trees were put in an accessible location. So are Christmas trees. Both are decorated, often with spherical balls. Both are often accompanied by a wreath. Both have gifts put under them, although we’ve turned the gifts into a teaching of a commercialized approval of greed and selfishness for children, not a representation of Christ’s gift as some claim. (Jesus gave us a gift of salvation, so I’m giving you an ipod and a bike and candy and Play Station. And we get up at 3 a.m. on Black Friday and angrily fight crowds for the latest toy or gadget because…? Sure, it’s all about Jesus’ birth…)

Additionally, in the ancient lunar calendar that became the Islamic calendar, the Day of Ashurah, transliterated also as Aashurah, Ashura, Ashora or Aashoorah, falls on the 10th day of Muharram. On that day, in the year of the Hejira 61 (AD 680), Husayn bin Ali, the grandson of Muhammad was killed by Umayyad forces at the Battle of Karbala (now in Iraq). Still called by its ancient name, the Day of Ashurah, (also spelled Ashora) it has been observed ever since as a day of mourning by Shī`ites.

Even the date, proven to be linked to many other wicked practices and traditions, is nowhere near the actual birth of Jesus. How do we know this? Jesus was visited by shepherds the night of His birth. In late December, the area is easily frosted and entirely too cold for flocks to be out. Meteorological science has shown no appreciable differences is the average temperatures in the time since. The very latest time of year would have been sometime in October. Just for informational sake- the magi, or wise men, never were at the manger at all. They were following a star and showed up sometime later, at a house Mary, Joseph & Jesus were staying, well after Jesus‘ circumcision, which would have been on His eighth day. This is found in Matthew 2:11, the only verse that indicates the actual place the magi met the Christ child. This makes most nativity sets incorrect, showing yet again how little we know about our heritage in Christ. If we easily miss this straightforward fact, how about something more complicated like a tree in our house?

 In Europe, during the Roman celebration of the feast of Saturnalia, Pagans decorated their houses with clippings of evergreen shrubs. They also decorated living trees with bits of metal and replicas of their God, Bacchus. Tertullian (circa 160 – 230), an early Christian leader and a prolific writer, complained that too many fellow-Christians had copied the Pagan practice of adorning their houses with lamps and with wreathes of laurel. They also placed 12 candles on the tree in honor of their sun god.” Their mid-winter festival of Saturnalia started on DEC-17 and often lasted until a few days after the Solstice.

Writes T. G. Crippen in Christmas and Christmas Lore, “Now in December and the beginning of January there were several festivals which were intimately associated with the daily life of the Roman people. First, from the 17th to the 21st December, was the Saturnalia, the great Roman holiday….One might call it the Feast of Topsy-turveydom; when slaves were allowed for a few days to enjoy the semblance of freedom, were waited upon by their masters, and chose from amongst themselves a mock king to preside over their revels. Next, on the 22nd, came Sigillaria, the Feast of Dolls, when a fair was held, and dolls and other toys, mostly of earthenware, were given to children. Then, on 25th, came Brumalia, otherwise Dies Natalis Invicti Solis, The Birthday of the Unconquered Sun, when the days began to lengthen after the solstice….It is believed to have been instituted … by the emperor Aurelian, in honour of Mithras, the Persian sun-god…” (p. 8-9).

From Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturnalia): Christians in the fourth century assigned December 25 (the Winter Solstice on the Julian calendar) as Christ’s birthday (and thus Christmas) because pagans already observed this day as a holiday. As the dates of Saturnalia are not precisely coincident with Christmas, a more refined argument is that Christmas was set on the feast of Sol Invictus, which was on December 25, and which had supplanted Saturnalia. However, with many of the traditions of Saturnalia incorporated into Sol Invictus, it is likely that some of those traditions — such as the exchanging of gifts — were also carried forward as a part of the Christian holiday.

Christians went deeper and deeper into apostasy as they ADOPTED the Pagan customs from those around them. The green ivy and holly were common symbols of “Saturn”, the Roman deity. Early believers thought that if they decorated their homes with these trappings, they would appear to be conforming to the Pagan culture as everyone around them was observing Saturnalia. Thus they would “blend-in”, and they would suffer less persecution. As time passed, the custom became part of the Christian world, and you will see the wreaths and Asherim trees in their assemblies and homes today. If we don’t “join-in” with the celebration, we’re considered to be freaks, or “Scrooges”.

This tradition, like so many others, is rooted and grounded not in Christ, but in Roman and Grecian mythology, paganism, and Muslim celebratory tradition, and accompanies several sexual and fertility based rituals. As their popularity grew, the church did what it thought was best: join in. It is believed that during the reign of Constantine the church accepted some of the practices and “Christianized” them as a way of drawing pagans into the church. This was during a time of prominent political standing of the Catholic church, and the pagans were growing in number and strength. The tradition was carried to the early United States. There, Christians initially protested the idea of Christmas trees, and even the celebration of Jesus’ birth being placed in late December, “conveniently” the week of Saturnalia, the Yule Tide and Asherah. The Pilgrim’s second governor, William Bradford, a Puritan, tried hard to stamp out all “pagan mockery” at Christmas time. Christmas trees were not used by Puritans in colonial times. In 1851, Pastor Henry Schwan of Cleveland, OH appears to have been the person responsible for decorating the first Christmas tree in an American church. His parishioners condemned the idea as a Pagan practice; some even threatened the pastor with harm.

Some argue- “It still doesn’t mean that now! We do it for other reasons- not those things.” But the question I must submit is this- At what point does an evil, pagan ritual; a practice rooted in self-mutilation, anti-Christianity and witchcraft; when does it suddenly become acceptable to our never-changing Lord? If He is the same yesterday, today and forever as the Bible says, then what is the cause of His mind change? I don’t believe there is one. An evil practice remains evil, no matter what we fallen humans call it.

THE CORRECTION

 As we reflect on the true meaning of Christmas, perhaps it would be best to choose a symbol that actually represents the birth of a Savior, the Christ Child. One of the most beloved themes of the Holy Day is the nativity. My family is creating a nativity ourselves- a simple one, and we plan to improve bit by bit as an annual tradition. Of course, I won’t have the wise men (or magi), because they weren’t at the actual birthplace. Let’s make it about Christ, about the birth of our Lord in body and blood and bone, the Word become flesh who would one day die a cruel and unjust death because He loves us so much. Let’s celebrate Him. Even though we aren’t exactly sure of the date Jesus came to be with us as a helpless babe, we can still honor Him. Let us honor Him with a practice worthy of His respect. Find a symbol that your family can focus around that emphasizes Christ, not tradition. The nativity, the child, the reason for His coming, something that centralizes the day of remembrance on Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Son of Man who came to us a baby so He could be killed as a man.

 

Tags: Asherah, Asherahs, Asherim, Asherot, Ashurah, Birth of Christ, celebration, Christmas, Christmas Tree, Day of Asherah, Day of Ashurah, gift exchange, Islamic, Islamic caladar, Muhammad, pagan trees, paganism, Roman, Saturn, Saturnalia, Sol Invictus, truth, William Bradford, Winter Solstice, christmas tree evil, evil tree, lies, pagan christmas tree, gifts under the tree, presents under the tree, gift exchange, meaning of Chirstmas,

 

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One Response to “Christmas Tree Truth”

  1. mel Says:

    This is why Jehovahs witnesses don’t celebrate christmas. also, if jesus felt it important that we celebrate his birth why doesn’t the bible contain a command to do so (such as the passover) and why is the exact date not given? I feel it apropriate to honour him by completly staying away from pagan celebrations, of course this is just my opinion.


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