Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The "Fight" For Christmas Trees

What's left of Christmas without a tree?!I have been mulling this issue over the past few years now and since the Christian lawyers are now gearing up for battle for another Christmas protection campaign I just want to get some thoughts out there before things start getting more coverage. This came today as I listened to a snippet from Matt Staver the president of "Liberty Council" (Which is a group of Christian lawyers who actively defend the rights of Christians from groups like the ACLU, such as in public schools, job place etc) now I really respect and appreciate the work that these guys are doing to in reality protect my freedom of religion from frankly atheists who would like to make proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ illegal. Anyway Staver was on today talking about the "success" of the 2005 campaign in which they were able to get numerous retailers and public displays to call the tree a "Christmas tree" instead of a "Holiday tree".

As I have thought about this I just think, who cares if the secular godless society doesn't want to call the tree a "Christmas tree" why should that be an issue for us to fight for? We're going to make people who hate Christ call a tree by His name when they in no way want anything to do with Him. I frankly would prefer that they do call it a "Holiday tree" and just admit their secularism. I just don't see this as a battle we need to be fighting, forcing God rejecters to call a tree by the name of Christ when they in no way honor Him.

Another more fundamental issue in why I don't think this is a battle worth fighting is simply this: "Why do WE call it a CHRISTmas tree?" Really where did that come from? I don't recall learning that the early Christians were having evergreen trees cut down and put in their homes to coincide with the celebration of the birth of their Savior. So from where did the Christmas tree spring forth? Well gang to be honest the whole "Christmas" tree notion is pagan in its origins (*GASP*) this is why the Puritans never did these things. The trees were originally put into homes as a sort of goodluck charm to ward off evil spirits by pagans. A good report on the origins of the Christmas tree can be found at the History channels write up on this issue.

(Note: the HC link depicts the Puritans as not wanting people to celebrate Christmas joyfully as their reason for being against the numerous practices such as caroling Christmas trees, Yule logs, etc. This is to feed into a fabricated stereotype that the Puritans were so ultra-religious that they were without joy and wanted to make sure that nobody had fun, because God is not a fun God. In reality the Puritans opposed these because they were syncristic with pagan practices and detracted from the worship of Christ alone. They were so serious about joy in Christ that anything that would detract from the true meaning of Christmas should be done away with. The HC puts a bit of a spin on the Puritan attitudes towards Christmas.)

So my point again is this why do WE call it a Christmas tree? There is really nothing Christian about it at all, it's just 300 year old American tradition that we for some reason think is a sacred relic to be defended from the unbelievers. So this brings me back to my initial objection to the "Fight" for Christmas trees which is: "Who cares?" I am all for Christian lawyers defending Church's and City Hall's rights to have manger scenes or signs that say "Merry Christmas" but the tree? Who cares it's not Christian to begin with.


natamllc said...

For what it is worth, I do believe Jesus dealt with issues like this, this way:

Mat 15:1 Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying,
Mat 15:2 Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.
Mat 15:3 But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?
Mat 15:4 For God commanded, saying, Honor thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.
Mat 15:5 But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;
Mat 15:6 And honor not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.
Mat 15:7 Ye hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying,
Mat 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoreth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
Mat 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

I guess Christian Lawyers and Jewish Lawyers forget Who is Who and Why?

I heard this about a friend who painted the Nativity Scene with the Crucified Christ on a cross in the manger instead of the "Baby Jesus".

It created a stir!

Some people want Baby Jesus. Me, I'm a macho man, oooga,



Bob said...

Yeah I think that's the best passage to apply to this very situation. It does make me wonder...lets be honest, is having a Christmas tree sin? The Puritans thought so.

Sean Carter said...

Holiday Tree would cover Thanksgiving and other holidays too along with Christmas, whereas peple like to believe that this 'Holiday Tree' is a symbol of a Traditional Christmas, hence the name 'Christmas Tree'... Not that I don't believe in the concept of Christmas Trees but it personally doesn't matter to me whether it's called Christmas or Holiday Tree, and having a campaign on it and having a 'Fight For Christmas Trees" is something that I simply don't understand nor that I wish to... Peep into this amazing Christmas Blog to check out some really cool stuffs and unique ideas

Anonymous said...

What do you think about the Christian "overtones" of Thanksgiving?

Tim said...

Not to nitpick, Bob, but the Christmas tree is actually a 400-year-old German tradition, not a 300-year-old American tradition. It is interesting that the link from the History channel you included mentions a belief that Martin Luther started the tradition of adding light to the Christmas tree. I wonder if that is true.

Now given that I live in "Christmas City, USA", founded by the Moravians, I wonder if there isn't more to the story of why they put so much effort into Christmas traditions such as lights and trees. Today's version of the Moravians aside, they were indeed a pious, scriptural bunch, and strong in community, too.

Another random fact about Christmas trees is that this year's traditional White House is coming from Pennsylvania, from a county just north of Bethlehem.

The bigger picture more to the point of your post, I think the more we recognize that our nation is not a Christian nation and thus people stop trying to ram Christianity as "the foundation of American" down everyone's throats via quasi-historical & political arguments, then maybe, just maybe, there will be a chance for the real gospel to be lived out and seen by those in our country with so much angst against it.

natamllc said...


you are too much!


just having fun.


Tim said...

michael, you are indeed correct. It is sad, but true. of course, I have to honest and say that I don't worship God everyday even though I really desire to. [sigh]

Dani said...

Personally, I like having a Christmas tree because it's a sign of the season and the reason we celebrate. Plus, it makes a beautiful decoration when all lit up, and the children really enjoy the tradition of decorating and putting presents under the tree.

I frankly would prefer that they do call it a "Holiday tree" and just admit their secularism.

I agree.

As lame as this is - It's just another way for the liberal humanists to get offended by the Truth.

Their skin crawls every time the Name of CHRIST is mentioned because it is a blantant reminder that they are sinners and need to repent!

"Holiday Tree" sounds so gay, but as long as it doesn't say "Christmas" Tree they will be satisfied!

Even on a national holiday celebrating Christ's birth which is called 'Christmas' - Americans are losing the freedom and right to speak His Name in public. How utterly shameful!

A couple years ago here in Denver at the "Parade of Lights" event all mentions of Christmas including singing Christmas carols were banned from the parade.

They had no problem allowing New Age religious groups, "Spirit" dances along with homosexual pride participants.

Yeah - Half-naked men dressed in drag making out with each other is no problem, but have baby Jesus in a manger scene - Forget it!