An Australian television report recently commented on a private school that had adopted a practice already common in the northern hemisphere – that of replacing the Christmas tree with the Christmas tree (lest that we offend!)
s not only unbelievers who have a problem with the Christmas tree. Some Christians believe that erecting a Christmas tree is the Christianization of a pagan practice, although there is a difference of opinion as to the practice from which it is drawn. For example:
* Some say it stems from the pagan idea that the evergreen tree represents a celebration of the renewal of life.
* Others teach that it comes from an incident involving Dionysus, the mythical Greek god of wine and male fertility. When he returned triumphantly from India, he wore a tapered conifer and some, therefore, linked the Christmas tree to that.
* Others, again, traced its beginnings to the horrible tradition of Yule among the first Germanic tribes who sacrificed male animals and slaves, suspending them from the branches of trees; the same way we hang gifts on Christmas trees!
* Then there are those who linked it with an obscure passage from the book of Jeremiah 10: 2-4: "Do not learn the way of the Gentiles, them, because the customs peoples are vain because one cuts a tree of the forest, the work of the hands of the worker, with the ax, it will not collapse. "
There is no evidence that our custom of the Christmas tree came down from these pagan traditions. There is more evidence that the tradition of decorating trees to celebrate Christmas began with Martin Luther. A cold Christmas eve, around the year 1500, Luther walked through the snow-covered woods and was captivated by the beauty of a group of small evergreens. As the moon shone on them, their branches, sprinkled with snow, shone and shone. Luther rushed home and installed a small fir tree inside and tried to recreate the scene with his children. He adorned it with candles that he lit to celebrate the birth of Christ.
The Tree of Life
The Bible mentions two trees in the Garden of Eden. The first was the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve were embarrassed to eat from this tree. We can ask, "Why is knowledge of good and bad a bad thing?" It's not that it's a bad thing, it's rather a question of how do we define what's good and what's wrong? Only God is good. what is consistent with his character and nature is good and what is incompatible with his character and nature is evil. Only God is qualified to determine what is good and what is wrong. We were destined to learn what is good and what is evil of God.
When man ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, he saw himself as god, and began to refer to himself. He has placed himself at the center of the universe and has remained there ever since. The man sees himself as able to decide what is right and what is wrong. Probably the best definition of sin is the self. & # 39; "All we love sheep has gone astray, we all turned, in its own way " (Is.53: 6). It's sin.
There was another tree in the garden called the tree of life. Why did not Adam and Eve eat from this tree instead? Because they already had life. God put the tree of life in the garden of Eden in anticipation of the salvation they would need when they sinned. The tree of life represents Jesus. He is the way, the truth and the life.
God said that when the man was eating from the forbidden tree, he would die. Sin requires the confiscation of a life. The wages of sin is death. But God accepts a substitution, and Jesus gave his life for us on a tree! When Peter preached to the Jews, he said: "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you killed by hanging on a tree" (Acts 5:30). Later, in his first letter, he taught the meaning of this death. He said that He "… bore our sins in His own body upon the tree" (1 Peter 2:21). While Adam and Eve were dying while eating from a tree, we live by eating from the tree of life of God, Jesus.
When I erect a Christmas tree at my home, and attach gifts to it, it reminds me of the greatest gift of anything hanging on a tree – the Son of God who is dead for you and me. The Gospel puts God in the center – the life of this man!