Jeremiah 10:3-4, Are Christmas Trees Taboo?

For 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. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.

//I see this verse quoted every Christmas, by well-meaning Christians concerned about the evil of setting up a Christmas tree. The Bible itself even seems to argue against having a Christmas tree. Jeremiah, quoting the commandment of God, seems to say “quit cutting down my trees and adorning them with jewels.”

Puritans wishing to avoid all semblance of pagan influence on their celebration of Christ’s birth may indeed have their arguments against Christmas trees, but the Bible isn’t one of them. Context is everything.

Jeremiah’s concern was not with the tree, but with what the nations around Israel were making out of them. They were chiseling them into gods and overlaying them with gold and silver. They were nailing them down so they didn’t topple over while they worshipped them.

Like a scarecrow in a melon patch, their idols cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not fear them; they can do no harm nor can they do any good.

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