Did Pagans Give Us the Christmas Tree?
WHY THE EVERGREEN?
A symbol is nothing more than an object which represents an idea. Religious symbols have no power of themselves to influence onlookers or devotees. If the object becomes the focus of worship instead of its symbol, then it is a graven image. But symbols in art, culture, and religion possess the power to teach and move the human spirit because of the substance behind them.
The argument that Christmas Trees come from pagan tradition is moot in my opinion. The symbol’s origin is not important. It’s the idea which it represents that counts, then and now. To the Christian mind an evergreen, the stately symmetrical pine that is favored at Christmastime, is symbolic of everlasting life. The needles never turn, as do the leaves of deciduous trees. They are always green, bursting with color and life. The tree is not the object of worship, as in pagan lore, it simply represents the central concept of Christmas, the Salvation and Eternal Life made possible by Jesus Christ.
Christmas symbols, and many religious objects, are powerful visual aids in teaching broad ideas to everyone, the youngest children to the most sagacious scholars. They evoke the deepest feelings of our hearts and the truths that distill upon our minds as we form our identities as Children of God, and apply His wisdom in our lives. The Christmas tree, like Santa Claus, is what we choose to make of it. It may bring peace and security to our minds, and comfort and joy to our children.
WHY THE STAR?
The Christmas Tree, however, plays a supporting role to the Star of Bethlehem. The wonder that filled the sky on the night Christ was born was unprecedented in the natural world, but natural it was. God the Eternal Father is the master of matter, the commander of the elements, and what cosmological phenomenon gave us the supernal brightness that filled space, we know not, but we do not it was real. That star, with all its power, was a guide and also a symbol. The Light of Christ, the Light of the World came to earth, and the star of the ages heralded His birth. But Jesus Christ, even in His mortal state, was the Light of the World. His teachings bring enlightenment to the minds of all who learn of him. His example is the lodestar, fixed in the darkness to guide us in our mortal walk back to our Heavenly home. The Star of Bethlehem bathed the Universe in love, a singular love, available to all without condition, and without limit.
Christmas traditions, especially in Western countries, are crowned with the placement of the star on the tree. The Star of Bethlehem, the king of all symbols, is the symbol of the King of Kings. May you keep the symbols and traditions of Christmas be in your hearts all year long, as you remember the Savior Jesus Christ and defend His Faith now and always.
Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
by Marjorie Haun 12/12/13