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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Oh Christmas tree.....oh Christmas tree.....

I have quite a few friends who are very much against having a Christmas tree in the house at this time of the year and they quote me,Jeremiah ch 10......They say that in there it tells us that it is a pagan worship.....is it?
This is what we read in Jeremiah:

Well, actually, the first 16 verses of chapter 10 are parenthetical. ( A parenthetical statement is one that explains or qualifies something e.g. You say, “I'm hungry....” then add, “But I only want chips” the second bit is parenthetical) So the first 16 verses in Jeremiah are an added extra so to speak.

Before continuing his discussion of the coming Exile, Jeremiah focused on the nature of the God who would bring this judgment.

God addressed the entire house of Israel, which included the Northern Kingdom already in exile, and explained the foolishness of idols.

Israel was not supposed to learn the ways of idolatry practiced by the nations around her, nor was she to be terrified by signs in the sky. These ”signs“ were most likely unusual occurrences such as eclipses or comets which were thought to be signs of coming events given by the gods.

Such idolatrous practices were worthless, because these ”gods“ being honoured were created by their worshipers.

(Even in Isa. 40:18-20). A person would chop down a tree, give the wood to a craftsman who would make it, according to how the person who chopped it down wanted it carved.
This ”god“ was then covered with silver and gold and fastened to a base so that it would not totter. Once the god was made by man it had to be carried to its destination. It was as lifeless as a scarecrow in a melon patch. Certainly such a ”god“ could not speak to impart knowledge to its followers. So God exhorted His people not to fear those false idols. The idols had no power to harm those who disregarded them or power to do any good for those who followed them. This is what Jeremiah was referring to.

A man plants a tree (his own labour), and cuts it down (his own labour). Half of the tree he burns in the fire (it certainly does him no good, other than to warm him and cook his food). The other half the man fashions into some "god," the product of his own hands. He created this "god," and he must carry it around.

We worship the God who created us, and carries us. How foolish to worship something made of wood, rather than the One True God.

Xulon-- This word is used of both a tree and of the cross. The point is that one of the words used in the New Testament for the cross is a word that also means "tree," "wood," or "a piece of wood" and hence, anything made of wood.

So, There are superficial similarities between our Christmas tree and the tree of Isaiah or Jeremiah.

But, the Christmas tree is, at best, a symbol. It is not something we worship as a god.

Is it something we can do without?

It certainly is.

But is it an idol, a profane thing that we worship, in which we place our trust? I think not.

I can accept the fact that some may refrain from using a Christmas tree out of conscience, but this is not a matter that should be debated, or over which we should divide. It is after all.....just a tree!

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