Shut up and enjoy the tree today! The Christmas tree is not a Pagan Symbol.
(First of all take two minutes to view our video Christmas Card to you. I hope you enjoy it and get a taste for how we celebrate Christmas at home. Thanks to my beautiful wife Mechelle for her patience during the building of the village.)
One way to tell that a truth is from God is that it gets attacked from two sides. Right now Christmas trees are getting it from atheists who want to call it a Holiday Tree and from ill-informed believers who are claiming they came from pagans.
Don’t believe most of what you read on the internet about Christmas or the Tree. Most are completely erroneous. Some writers make no distinction between fact and fantasy. None of them give sources for their assertions against the Christmas tree.
Those who would give Christmas and Christmas Trees a pagan origin love to tell you that bringing greenery into one’s home, at the time of the winter solstice, symbolized life in the midst of death in many cultures.
True as that may be, that is absolutely not how we got our Christmas Tree. The Christmas tree is a descendent of two Christian customs: the Paradise tree and the Christmas light of the late middle Ages.
The “Paradise Play” was a prevalent way of depicting the story of the creation of Adam and Eve, their sin, and their banishment from Paradise. These plays were performed outdoors and in churches.
As time went on these plays were abused so the church frowned on them. However, the people had grown so accustomed to the Paradise tree, that they began putting their own Paradise tree up in their homes on Dec. 24. They did so on Dec. 24 because this was the feast day of Adam and Eve (at least in the Eastern Church).
The Paradise tree, as it had in the Paradise plays, symbolized both a tree of sin and a tree of life. For this reason, the people would decorate these trees with apples (representing the fruit of sin) and homemade wafers (like communion wafers which represented the fruit of life). Later, candy and sweets were added.
The Christmas light: The other custom found in the homes of Christians on Dec. 24 since the late Middle Ages was a large candle called the “Christmas light,” symbolizing Christ who is the light of the world, was lit on Christmas Eve. In western Germany, many smaller candles were set upon a wooden pyramid and lit. Besides the candles, other objects such as glass balls, tinsel, and the “star of Bethlehem” were placed on its top.18
The Christmas tree still retains the symbolism of the Paradise tree. It reminds us of the tree that Adam and Eve ate from and cast the human race into sin. But more importantly, the tree reminds us of the tree by which our sin was overcome, namely the tree upon which Christ Jesus was crucified.
Is it a stretch to refer to the cross as a tree? Hardly, this is the language of the New Testament itself! For example, Galatians 3:13 says, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” And Peter writes, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”
The Christmas tree is a wonderful reminder of how we fell; that Jesus is the light of the world, and of the Cross were we first saw that light.