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We Pagan Christians?

December 22, 2005

I was listening to a news reporter, CNN or MSNBC or CBS or some such, explaining how most of us Christians Christmas Treedon’t realize the “pagan roots” of the Christmas tree, and during his report he mentioned the Christmas tree as being part of the Christmas story. First of all, most every Christian I know is aware of the origins of decorating a tree around the winter solstice, though I’d bet even in those days gone by it was as much a celebration of the turn of winter toward spring as anything else, with little of the symbolism tied to worship of any kind. Be that as it may, for the purpose of the discussion I’ll give you the origin of a winter decorated tree being from pagan worship.

The main point I found interesting is that this dimwit providing information for the nation thinks a decorated tree is somehow part of the Christmas story. Granted, it’s part of many folks’ Christmas celebration, but hopefully there aren’t any Christians under the impression that Christ was born under a decorated Douglas Fir. The Christmas tree is no more a part of the Christmas story than the Easter bunny is part of Christ’s death and resurrection, and if anybody happens across this dimwitted reporter between now and April, please let him know that piece of info so he won’t confuse those come Good Friday.

That out of the way, the question remains: are we Christians participating in a pagan form of worship when we plug in 750 twinkling lights on a synthetic pine? No, of course not. For me, the Christmas tree is a secular celebration of the holiday season, and when my family and I have our day of decoration it begins the spirit of family, tradition, giving, and sharing that are part of this season. A reminder of how blessed I am, with my family, both immediate and extended, still a part of my life. The Christmas tree isn’t about Christ’s birth, though for us we try and keep Christ’s birth as a central focus of the season. No, the tree is just part of the overall fun of the holidays, about sneaking around and trying to figure out what the perfect gift for SWMBO might be, or what the kids will be thrilled with. It’s about laughter, food, and family togetherness, and the ever-growing pile of packages underneath that get rattled, shook, and carefully weighed as we try and figure out what they might contain. Along with mistletoe, Dickens’ village pieces, peanut-butter balls, chocolate covered pretzels and Chex-mix, the tree is another of our seasonal joys. And we don’t worship mistletoe, ceramic houses, chocolate covered pretzels, or Chex-mix. Now, the peanut-butter balls . . . .

Note: the included image of the Christmas tree was my first drawing done with GIMP. Check it out if you have an artistic flair (or, like me, wish you had one); it’s neat, and it’s free (distributed under the GNU software license).


Shane said:
WHAT??!!! Christ WASN’T born under a douglas fir!!! And to think I spent $30 extra dollars because the salesman said it was “authentic”. The madness!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

From → Ramblings

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