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To Have a Tree or Not to Have a Tree
November 18, 2017

Dear Sam,

A friend of mine said that as a Christian I should not have a Christmas tree because it has pagan beginnings. It may have been used in satan worship. What do I do? Throw out the tree and all its decorations? Now that I think about it, what does a decorated tree have to do with the birthday celebrations of Jesus, anyway?

To have a tree or not to have a tree?


Dear Tree,

Such a fun decoration. It would be sad to throw it out. But it is good to question old traditions and customs to understand the origin and purpose. What is it that we want to do?

For thousands of years evergreen boughs have been brought into the homes to decorate and cheer things up on the long dark winters of the northern countries.

A couple of thousand years ago palm tree branches were used to decorate in some Roman sun worshiping festivities.

One story tells that December 24 was first called Adam and Eve day and a tree was used to decorate as a symbol of the “tree of life” and decorated with apples.

“Two towns in Estonia and Latvia claim to have been the first to have a Christmas tree: Tallinn in 1441 and Riga in 1510.”

Another story is found at:

“The first person to bring a Christmas tree into a house, in the way we know it today, may have been the 16th century German preacher Martin Luther. A story is told that, one night before Christmas, he was walking through the forest and looked up to see the stars shining through the tree branches. It was so beautiful, that he went home and told his children that it reminded him of Jesus, who left the stars of heaven to come to earth at Christmas.”

Apparently Christmas Trees came to Britain from Germany in the 1830s and became very popular in 1841, when Prince Albert (Queen Victoria's German husband) had a Christmas tree set up in Windsor Castle.

I would say that it is a fun way to decorate and make festive a very special celebration, the birth of our Saviour, our God, our Messiah.

What has a tree to do with the birth of Jesus? Nothing really, but it is a fun way to decorate and make this special day festive. Just as balloons have nothing to do with anyone’s birth or wedding but it is a fun way to decorate.

Should we do any decorating or celebrating as it is not told to us by God, specifically, to make it into a festive day, as He told the Israelites to “keep all the festive days”? But the angels surely did celebrate as we are told in Luke 2: “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.    .....And when they (the shepherds) had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.   ….And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.….”

The decorations are not the centre of the celebration. Jesus is. Jesus is the reason for the season. Jesus needs to be our focus.

Hebrews 12:2: “…looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake ofthe joy that was set before him endured the cross.”

Luke 2:10: “But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people”.

So festive it up, celebrate. We have a reason to celebrate with great joy for the good news of Jesus.

INSIDE THE ISSUE is authorized through Resurrection Lutheran Church, 250 Quarry Rd., Pembroke, K8B 1A6. Questions and comments invited at:


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