Jeremiah chapter 10 and Christmas Trees


The word satire is the art of poetical words aimed at prevalent vices or follies holding them up to ridicule. This is exactly what the prophet is doing here as he comments on the vanity of lifeless wooden or otherwise idols and then points to the greatness of God.

This chapter in Jeremiah has been misread in type to incorrectly show Christmas Trees as a modern day interpretation of verses 3 and 4. But the context, grammar and the literal meaning point solely to a historical setting with a future teaching into all generations that man made idols are worthless.

Yates (Preaching – page 144) comments on these verses as follows:-

Jeremiah is cruel in his treatment of the poor, defenceless idols that men
use as substitutes for God. They are unresponsive sticks that have to be
decorated so as to conceal the fact that they are only dead wood.

Instead of carrying they must be carried.
They must be fashioned; God fashions.
No speech, no power, no breath, no intelligence, no worth, no influence and
no permanence can be attributed to them.
In contrast Yahweh is eternal, living, active, powerful.

To say that fellow believers are unknowingly worshipping an idol in like manner with Christmas Trees, dressing them up with tinsel and decorations is stretching the point and is erroneous within correct exegesis!

The art of the Christmas Tree to give an effect or atmosphere was introduced into this country by Prince Albert during the reign of Queen Victoria as it was a tradition in parts of Europe. It has since taken on many styles and variations with a crowning star or Angel, decorative balls, stars, figures, chocolates, lights etc.

It of course has nothing to do with the birth of Christ and this is where the error lies within type on the other side of the proverbial coin. Christians who wish to continue to have one are not bowing down when putting presents under or around their real or man made tree, they are for their children and each other. Neither is it an act of idolatry as no one who is a believer sees another god in the tree and are offended at the charge. We are told not to judge one another or anything before the time from the inspired pen of Paul.

Being legalistic causes division and we should simply pray and leave others to God in matters which are not central to salvation. We are to try and maintain the bond of peace with one another. It is then a personal point of view whether some traditions are harder than others to let go off within spiritual growth.

Date : 30/11/-0001    

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