2016/12/10 – “The Incredible History of the Tree” – Stan Roberts sermon

Is there any Biblical association between the Christmas tree and the birth of Jesus Christ? When you do just some very basic research, obviously not. The evergreen fir tree has traditionally been used to celebrate winter festivals (pagan and Christian) for thousands of years. Pagans used branches of it to decorate their homes during the winter solstice, as it made them think of the spring to come.Does the decking of a fir tree in gold and silver adornment predate the birth of Christ thousands of years? Yes it does. Why would “christians” adopt the pagan fir tree symbol? You’d have to study Constantine’s ‘christianising’ of the pagan Roman Empire. Let’s just say a lot of pagans were allowed to bring along their baggage to sweeten the deal.

Likewise the date chosen to ‘celebrate’ Christ’s birth. December 25th was right at the end of the winter solstice and Saturnalia observances practised by those same pagans. It’s believed that this date was chosen to offset pagan celebrations of Saturnalia and Natalis Invicti. Some believe that celebrating the birth of the “true light of the world” was set in synchronization with the December solstice because from that point onwards, the days began to have more daylight in the Northern Hemisphere. Christmas is also referred to as Yule, which is derived from the Norse word jól, referring to the pre-Christian winter solstice festival.Yule is also known as Alban Arthan and was one of the “Lesser Sabbats” of the Wiccan year in a time when ancient believers celebrated the rebirth of the Sun God and days with more light. This took place annually around the time of the December solstice and lasted for 12 days. The Lesser Sabbats fall on the solstices and equinoxes.

Now, because men of good will, good Christian folk, adopt pagan symbols and festivities in supposed honour of their Saviour, Jesus Christ, does that make it alright then?

In Jeremiah 10:1-4 God makes plain what he thinks of the decorated tree.
“1Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel: 2Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. 3For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. 4They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.”

That’s right, God says the customs or traditions of the people are VAIN. That is – useless.

Jesus Christ himself had this to say about men keeping traditions rather than obeying God: Mark 7:5-8
The pharisees asked “Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands? 6He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. 7Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. 8For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. 9And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.” Nowhere has God commanded we deck a tree. God chooses how we honour Him and His Son. Arguing such as “the date of Christ’s birth does not matter, the use of the fir tree doesn’t matter, the holly wreath etc, all pagan in origin – traditions of men, is also vain.