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The Chrstmas Tree: An Offensive Memorial?

A Cause of Non-Christians To Mock Christians

The Skeptics Annotated Bible is a good place to look sometimes to see whether we bring dishonor to God by our behavior. The skeptics cite Jeremiah 10:1-5 as something we do not obey.

1 Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel:

2 Thus 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.

3 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.

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

5 They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good." (KJV).

Hence, the skeptics appear to be correct when they annotate this passage with their jibe at us: "God hates Christmas trees." 1

When Aaron as High Priest copied heathen worship-practices with a graven calf, he was not telling the people that the golden calf was an idol to worship. Rather, Aaron merely used the golden calf to assist in Yahweh-centric worship while Moses was on the Mount receiving the Ten Commandments. Moses was boiling mad when he saw this. Hence, the prohibition on copying the heathen use of a tree decked in silver and gold is akin to the prohibition on the use of graven images.

Is the skeptics' criticism fair or unfair that we violate the command in Jeremiah 10? If fair, then isn't it true we are giving non-Christians a reason to disrespect God's word because we show it little respect?

Dressing Up Trees As Part of Ancient Worship Practices

Trees were either objects of worship or used in worship in Bible times. It is not clear that the Bible means only to prohibit worship of trees; rather, it appears to prohibit the adornment of trees as part of a worship practice.

The Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics states:

"Tree worship pure and simple, where the tree is in all respects treated as a god, is attested for Arabia in the case of the sacred date-palm in Nejran. It was adorned at an annual feast with fine clothes and women's ornaments." (Vol.12, at 449.)

The Encyclopedia goes on to say that the biblical mention of the women of Judah draping the asherah pole (a tree) with their garments near the Temple at Jerusalem is another example of a tree used in worship. (II Kings 23:7.)

Christmas Tree Practices Banned At Various Times by Christians

First Three Hundred Years of Christianity

The early Christian Church in the third century strictly prohibited the decoration of their houses with evergreen boughs. During the Roman celebration of the feast of Saturnalia, pagans decorated their houses with clippings of evergreen shrubs. They also decorated living trees with bits of metal and replicas of their god--Bacchus.

Tertullian (circa 160 - 230), an early Christian leader and a prolific writer, complained that too many fellow-Christians had copied the pagan practice of adorning their houses with lamps and with wreathes of laurel at the time of the year that now falls at Christmas time. 2 (However, in those early three hundred years, Christmas was not then being celebrated. Thus, this was not a prohibition on Christmas trees. This was a prohibition on Christians imitating pagan tree-decoration practices.)

Tertullian and the early church were evidently concerned about imitating pagan customs that used the boughs for religious meaning. It is likely Tertullian knew God in Jeremiah 10:1-5 banned imitation by believers of the customs of pagans involving trees.

Late Origin of Christmas Caused Its Suppression in 1600s

The Catholic Encyclopedia acknowledges that Christmas was not a feast day of the early church. It had its first celebration in Egypt around 200. It did not catch on at Rome for over another 100 years. 3

Initially, in the early church, December 25th as the official birth date of Christ was not even suggested until the 300's. The Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics Volume 3 at 603 states: "The writings of Chrysostom [from the 300s] enable us to fix with considerable exactness the date at which the observance of the Feast of the Nativity on December 25 was introduced at Antioch, he states that its observance was not yet quite ten years old." Thus, Christmas was first introduced in the middle 300s at Antioch. Rome did not know of it until 354 A.D. 4 The Catholic Encyclopedia concedes December 25th was adopted because it coincided with a pagan holiday. 5

As a result of that fact, the Protestant authorities during the 1600s in England condemned the celebration of Christmas altogether. They claimed it was pagan in origin and did not have the slightest warrant in the Bible. 6 Sola Scriptura! They passed laws forbidding it to be celebrated. The English Puritan rulers condemned a number of customs associated with Christmas, such as the use of the Yule log, holly, mistletoe, etc. Oliver Cromwell preached against "the heathen traditions" of decorated trees that desecrated "that sacred event." 7 For example, anyone found cooking a Christmas ham had their dinner taken away and they themselves were arrested.

Similar laws were put into effect in the American colonies. In Massachusetts, the following law was passed in 1659 and was enforced on the people for 22 years before it was finally repealed.

Whosoever shall be found observing Christmas, either by forbearing of labor, feasting, or any other way, every such person shall pay as a fine five shillings to the county. 8

The reason that the pilgrims were forbidding the celebration of Christmas (and the festivities that went with it) was because they were relying upon Jeremiah 10 which told them not to imitate the customs of the early heathen which was the true origin of Christmas--December 25th. At that juncture, however, there was no custom yet of Christmas trees, because Christmas was entirely being suppressed and the tree tradition had not yet passed from Germany to England or America.

History of Commercial Christmas Trees

It should be noted that Christmas trees were not sold commercially in the U.S.A. until 1851 and became popularized gradually.

Before that, the modern Christmas tree tradition dates back to Western Germany in the 1500s. They were called Paradeisbaum (paradise trees) and were brought into homes to celebrate the annual Feast of Adam and Eve on December 24th. They were first brought to America by German immigrants about 1700. Christmas trees became popular among the general population about 1850. President Franklin Pierce (1804-1869) arranged to have the first Christmas tree in the White House during the mid-1850's. President Calvin Coolidge (1885-1933) started the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on the White House lawn in 1923.

Modern Christmas Tree Originated in German Practice

The article "Christmas Tree" in Wikipedia 9 provides the origins of the modern Christmas tree in Germany. It explains:

Roots

With origins in European Pre-Christian cultures, the Christmas tree has extensive history and has become a common sight during the winter season in various countries.

Patron trees (for example, the Irminsul, Thor's Oak and the figurative Yggdrasil), held special significance for the ancient Germanic tribes, appearing throughout historic accounts as sacred symbols and objects. According to Adam of Bremen, in Scandinavia the Germanic pagan kings sacrificed nine males (the number nine is a significant number in Norse mythology) of each species at the sacred groves every ninth year. 10

*****

The modern custom of erecting a Christmas tree can be traced to 16th century Germany, though neither an inventor nor a single town can be identified as the sole origin for the tradition, which was a popular merging of older traditions mentioned above; in the Cathedral of Strasbourg in 1539, the church record mentions the erection of a Christmas tree. Yet, the first officially recorded Christmas tree ever was erected in Tallinn, Estonia, in year 1444. It was erected by the Brotherhood of Blackheads (local merchants guild) to celebrate the birth Christ. It was decorated with red and white roses.

Other aspects of the Christmas tradition come out of Germany as well. The Wikipedia adds:

Suzanne Lieurance claims Christmas trees used to be hung upside down from the ceiling beams and that Martin Luther is to be credited with adding lights to the tree and placing it upright and decorated.

Other notable traditions in relation to Christmas have also been derived from Germanic pagan practices, including the Yule log, Christmas ham, Yule Goat, stuffing stockings, elements of Santa Claus and his nocturnal ride through the sky, and surviving elements of Pre-Christian Alpine traditions.

Throughout all the ages, evergreen plants were used for decoration in the winter, from laurel, mistle or conifer, and trees had a cultural importance like the maypole, the Saturnalia or the Gerichtslinde.

Interestingly, the Roman Catholic tradition did not adopt the Christmas tree. For a long time, in Germany the Christmas tree was regarded as a Protestant practice:

The Christmas tree remained confined to the upper Rhineland for a relatively long time. It was regarded as a Protestant custom by the Catholic majority along the lower Rhine and was spread there only by Prussian officials who were moved there in the wake of the Congress of Vienna in 1815. ("Christmas Tree," Wikipedia.)

God Prohibits Tree Memorials for Worship

Jeremiah 10 says that God does not like worship services to include dressing up a tree with silver and gold. This is the way pagans worship.

The King James Version reads:

"Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen.... 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."

On the surface, this is very plain. A believer in Yahweh was not to incorporate any customs from pagans, including the use of trees cut from the forest to deck with silver and gold, and nailed in place to stand upright. What could be more clear? Dr. Ernest L. Martin, author of The Star that Astonished the World (1991), explains:

This kind of heathen activity is precisely what Jeremiah is referring to in chapter 10. He was telling the Israelites not to learn the way of the heathen by cutting a tree out of the forest and decorating it with spiral ribbons of gold and silver like those coming from the workings of a lathe, and adorned with blue and purple fabric ribbons. Such customs were normally associated with the seasonal feasts of the pagans (especially those of the Solstices or Equinoxes). The modern Christmas tree is a prime example in our day of what the heathen were doing in the time of Jeremiah. 11

Christmas Tree advocates defend this modern practice at odds with the plain words of Jeremiah 10, claiming it does not apply because (a) they worship the true God; or (b) there was no Christmas then, and these could not be `Christmas' trees. 12 They say God is not necessarily displeased of the use of a Christmas tree to commemorate Christ each year. Another argues: "Just because pagans might have used trees to worship their gods does not mean that we can't use them to teach us something about God who has given us the `indescribable gift' of Jesus Christ." 13 The Christmas tree supposedly can teach us about eternal life, because it reminds us of the tree of life. 14

What is overlooked is that God in Jeremiah 10 condemned believers from learning the customs of the pagans. If it meant to say do not worship idols, it could have said simply that. Instead, it said to not copy the practices of the heathen, just like God told them to not use graven images in worship. Aaron violated God's will by using a golden calf in a Yahweh-centric worship even though Aaron never told the people it was an idol to worship. Instead, God meant it was inherently wrong to copy that particular pagan practice.

Thus, Jeremiah 10 is dealing with nothing different. One of the customs of the pagans was the use of a tree decked with silver and gold. God says don't copy that practice in your lives. God is not saying `look at these pagans and how evil they are for worshipping by means of a tree decked with silver and gold.' No! God is saying do not copy. Do not imitate! Do not learn this custom and use it.

This is why it is irrelevant that there is arguably mention in the next verse--Jeremiah 10:5--of idol-worship: "They are upright as a palm tree, but speak not; they must be borne, because they cannot go. Do not be afraid of them; for they can do no evil, neither is it in them to do any good."

This verse about not fearing any spiritual power of the decked tree is a different point altogether than the prior verse which is aghast against imitating pagan worship practices. Verse five is talking about the perception of the trees as idols / having spiritual power. Do not fear them. That is not the issue in the prior four verses which say that you should not copy or imitate the worship customs of pagans, including adorning a tree with silver and gold.

The Forerunner Commentary aptly cites Jeremiah 10:1-4 to condemn Christmas Tree practice:

Jeremiah 10:1-5...God commands us not to learn the way of the Gentiles, the nations who do not have the revelation of God. The Israelites were different from all the nations chiefly because God had revealed Himself to them and given them His law (Deuteronomy 4:5-8; Amos 3:1-2). The Gentiles invented their own futile, meaningless ways of worship because they did not have the truth.

****

[Verses 1-5 of Jeremiah 10] are... an accurate description of the Christmas tree we are familiar with today. The practice Jeremiah wrote about was a custom (verse 3) and was associated with "the signs of heaven" (verse 2)--just as Christmas today is a custom and is associated with the winter solstice. People today do not normally associate Christmas with the winter solstice, but that does not change its pagan origin.

Even though these scriptures no doubt had an application to the customs practiced some 2500 years ago, we must keep in mind that the book of Jeremiah is primarily prophecy. Just as with other prophecies, this was written for our time, to our people, and referring to the common customs of the modern world!....

We should especially note that cutting down and setting up a tree is termed "the way of the Gentiles [heathen, KJV]." We are commanded not to learn or follow that way (verse 2).... If we try to honor God through any sort of idol or icon, we [err]. 15

Hostility To Those Calling For An End To This Practice

Interestingly, a doctor of the Lutheran church defends Christmas-tree commemoration of Christ's birth. He bases this upon a misapplication of Jeremiah 10:5 (do not fear idols) which follows the anti-imitation verse of Jeremiah 10:4. Then he scorns any Christian who feels a Christmas tree to commemorate Jesus' birth is imitating pagan practices, and thus God specifically condemned such practice for all time! This Lutheran doctor writes:

Christians should know that they can use a Christmas tree with a good conscience. It is unfortunate and wrong when well-meaning Christians call something sin that is not sin, and enslave the consciences of their fellow believers with imaginary sin! Shame on such Christians! Those who continue to believe that the Christmas tree is pagan and sinful, even after having their conscience correctly informed, should not use them. For it is not right to sin against conscience. This is regrettable, however, since there is absolutely nothing wrong with using a Christmas tree. 16

What is truly wrong is to tell Christians that something God condemns copying as a custom from pagans is okay. That's wrong. It was then horribly wrong to tell people that a prohibited practice is "absolutely" proper to copy because we know better today.

Can The Translation Save the Christmas Tree?

The King James on its face is bad news for Christmas-tree users. Thus, efforts have been underway for some time to revise Jeremiah 10.

Thus, many now claim the correct translation is not that a tree is cut from the forest with an axe, but rather a piece of wood is cut with a wood carver's knife. Then they assert this is talking about making a piece of wood into an idol, and then decking an idol with silver and gold. We read:

Where the King James reads "one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe" (verse 3), the New International Version says "they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel." The tool referred to in the passage is not a woodsman's tool, but that of a wood carver. Most modern English translations agree with the NIV.

Jeremiah is not condemning Christmas trees. He is condemning idolatry. The trees in Jeremiah 10 are cut down to carve them into worthless idols that will later be decorated with gold and silver. Jeremiah says nothing about Christmas trees. That custom originated in northern Europe, not in ancient Palestine. 17

Various translations have conformed the wording to not offend our modern practice of Christmas trees. For example, the NIV reads: "they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel."

The Living Bible reads:

"They cut down a tree and carve an idol...."

The Amplified Bible reads:

"....it is but a tree which one cuts out of the forest [to make for himself a god], the work of the craftsman with the ax or other too."

The NLT has: "They cut down a tree and carved an idol."

First, let's review whether it is a piece of wood or a tree because this will tell us whether it is an axe or a carver's knife meant later in the verse. It clearly means a tree is cut down in the forest, which means the tool involved is an axe, not a carver's knife. Ernest L. Martin, Ph.D. explains the word est here means tree, not wood in this context:

When Jeremiah said "one cuts a tree out of the forest," the word for "tree" is a Hebrew word that ordinarily means a living tree that grows in the ground. The "trees" in the Garden of Eden, including that of the knowledge of good and evil as well as the tree of life, were indicated as being ordinary "trees" by the use of this word. True, it can sometimes means a block of wood, but when Jeremiah said to cut a tree "from the forest," a forest is made up of numerous trees usually over a vast region of land. A forest is made up of many trees, not many "blocks of wood" or "pieces of timber." The immediate context of Jeremiah shows he is really talking about a tree that one can cut down and that it [the tree] can be decked or adorned with gold or silver and/or blue or purple cloths. 18

Dr. Martin points out a second aspect of the verse that points to a tree rather than a block of wood:

There is a further way to show that the context of Jeremiah is speaking of a literal tree. He states that the "tree" which is decked with ornaments and is nailed in place is like a "palm tree""palm tree" is certainly being discussed that is upright [secured with hammered metal] so that it remains rigid and erect. This is what Jeremiah wrote if one uses the simple meaning of the Hebrew words as a guide. ...[T]he only other time the word is used in the Bible, it clearly refers to a living palm tree (Judges 4:5). This is a reliable clue.

Dr. Martin points out that Keil & Delitzsch (Lutheran scholars) correctly dismissed the arguments that sought to dispel application of Jeremiah 10 to our Christmas tree practice by trying to equate the palm tree with a pagan idol:

But some interpreters do not want Jeremiah referring to a "palm tree" in this section of scripture. They want it to be a pillar, a type of scarecrow that one would put in a garden or a cucumber patch (like an idol referred to in the apocryphal work Baruch 5:70). As Keil and Delitzsch show in their commentary on this verse, the scholars who thought up this interpretation understood the "palm tree" to be the pagan god Priapus (in the form of a phallic symbol--a pillar shaped like the male organ as a sexual object) which was placed in a cucumber patch as a scarecrow. I imagine such a phallic display would frighten off the crows. Keil and Delitzsch, however, utterly dismiss this interpretation. They say it has little in common with the context of Jeremiah. And this is true. There is not a tissue of evidence from the context that this is what Jeremiah meant by his "palm tree."

The 'Who Cares Anymore?' Argument

The final argument to defend Christmas-trees is that whatever irritated God about tree-adorning is no longer important. We all now regularly use images in worship despite what is said in the Ten Commandments. Something has changed. Indeed, if you look around the sanctuary of most churches, you see graven images/statues of living beings, such as doves, angels, birds, etc. Yet, this practice violates one of the Ten Commandments.

Hence, because the Law given Moses is a nullity, so the argument goes, why worry about Jeremiah 10?

But Jesus did not hold such a view of the Law and Prophets. (Matt. 5:19-20.) Whoever teaches you to follow them is the "greatest" in the kingdom of heaven. We follow them because Jesus said so. That's why.

If we know the downside is that some practice we have specifically adopted violates God's Law or Prophets, what is the true upside of continuing the practice? Fun. Kids love it. It seems harmless.

Thus, have your fun then, I guess. But I am fairly confident that those who were worshipping in the Yahweh-worship put on by Aaron with the golden calf were likewise having lots of fun. You take your chances. Fun is not wrong, but wrong fun is wrong.

 


1. http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/Jer/10.html (accessed 5/31/08).

2. "Tertullian," Wikipedia, at: http://en.wikipedia.org. Tertullian, "On Idolatry," XV.

3. "Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church. The first evidence of the feast is from Egypt.... [about 200 A.D.]... There is no month in the year to which respectable authorities have not ascribed Christ's birth.... At Rome, then, the Nativity was celebrated on 25 December [not] before 354; in the East, at Constantinople, not before 379.... The well-known solar feast, however, of Natalis Invictis, celebrated on 25 December, has a strong claim on the responsibility for our December date.... It would be impossible here to even outline the history of solar symbolism and language as applied to God, the Messiah, and Christ in Jewish or Christian canonical, patristic, or devotional works. Hymns and Christmas offices abound in instances. The earliest rapprochement of the births of Christ and the Sun is in Cyprian (De pasch. comp. xix): `O, how wonderfully acted Providence that on that day on which the Sun was born... Christ should be born.' In the fourth century Chrysostom (De Solst. et AEquin., II, p. 118) says: `But our Lord too is born in the month of December (25).... But they call it the "Birthday of the Unconquered." Who is so unconquered as our Lord? Or, if they say that it is the birthday of the Sun, He is the Sun of Justice.'... Pope Leo I bitterly reproves solar survivals -- Christians on the very door-step of the Apostles' Basilica turn to adore the rising Sun.... But even should a deliberate and legitimate `baptism' of a pagan feast be seen here, no more than the transference of the date need be supposed. The abundance of midwinter festivals may have helped the choice of the December date, the same instinct which set Natalis Invictis at the winter solstice will have sufficed, apart from deliberate adaptation or curious calculation, to set the Christians feast there too." (Cath. Encyc. (1913) Vol. III, at 724-727).

4. See See "Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church. The first evidence of the feast is from Egypt.... [about 200 A.D.]... There is no month in the year to which respectable authorities have not ascribed Christ's birth.... At Rome, then, the Nativity was celebrated on 25 December [not] before 354; in the East, at Constantinople, not before 379.... The well-known solar feast, however, of Natalis Invictis, celebrated on 25 December, has a strong claim on the responsibility for our December date.... It would be impossible here to even outline the history of solar symbolism and language as applied to God, the Messiah, and Christ in Jewish or Christian canonical, patristic, or devotional works. Hymns and Christmas offices abound in instances. The earliest rapprochement of the births of Christ and the Sun is in Cyprian (De pasch. comp. xix): `O, how wonderfully acted Providence that on that day on which the Sun was born... Christ should be born.' In the fourth century Chrysostom (De Solst. et AEquin., II, p. 118) says: `But our Lord too is born in the month of December (25).... But they call it the "Birthday of the Unconquered." Who is so unconquered as our Lord? Or, if they say that it is the birthday of the Sun, He is the Sun of Justice.'... Pope Leo I bitterly reproves solar survivals -- Christians on the very door-step of the Apostles' Basilica turn to adore the rising Sun.... But even should a deliberate and legitimate `baptism' of a pagan feast be seen here, no more than the transference of the date need be supposed. The abundance of midwinter festivals may have helped the choice of the December date, the same instinct which set Natalis Invictis at the winter solstice will have sufficed, apart from deliberate adaptation or curious calculation, to set the Christians feast there too." (Cath. Encyc. (1913) Vol. III, at 724-727). .

5. See See "Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church. The first evidence of the feast is from Egypt.... [about 200 A.D.]... There is no month in the year to which respectable authorities have not ascribed Christ's birth.... At Rome, then, the Nativity was celebrated on 25 December [not] before 354; in the East, at Constantinople, not before 379.... The well-known solar feast, however, of Natalis Invictis, celebrated on 25 December, has a strong claim on the responsibility for our December date.... It would be impossible here to even outline the history of solar symbolism and language as applied to God, the Messiah, and Christ in Jewish or Christian canonical, patristic, or devotional works. Hymns and Christmas offices abound in instances. The earliest rapprochement of the births of Christ and the Sun is in Cyprian (De pasch. comp. xix): `O, how wonderfully acted Providence that on that day on which the Sun was born... Christ should be born.' In the fourth century Chrysostom (De Solst. et AEquin., II, p. 118) says: `But our Lord too is born in the month of December (25).... But they call it the "Birthday of the Unconquered." Who is so unconquered as our Lord? Or, if they say that it is the birthday of the Sun, He is the Sun of Justice.'... Pope Leo I bitterly reproves solar survivals -- Christians on the very door-step of the Apostles' Basilica turn to adore the rising Sun.... But even should a deliberate and legitimate `baptism' of a pagan feast be seen here, no more than the transference of the date need be supposed. The abundance of midwinter festivals may have helped the choice of the December date, the same instinct which set Natalis Invictis at the winter solstice will have sufficed, apart from deliberate adaptation or curious calculation, to set the Christians feast there too." (Cath. Encyc. (1913) Vol. III, at 724-727). .

6. In 1627 the Puritan Prynne wrote many tracts condemning Christmas celebrations as pagan in origin.

7. Diane Relf, "Christmas Tree Traditions," Virginia Cooperative Extension, 1997-AOR, at: http://www.ext.vt.edu.

8. Ernest L. Martin, Ph.D., 1991 (author of The Star that Astonished the World), "The Christmas Tree Debate," reprinted at http://www.askelm.com/doctrine/d911101.htm (accused 5/31/08).

9. "Christmas Tree," http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_tree (last accessed 5/31/08).

10. To justify the emergence of the practice, a myth arose that St. Boniface was the first in 754 A.D. to inaugurate the Christmas tree. "Tradition credits Saint Boniface with the invention of the Christmas tree. The Oak of Thor at Geismar was chopped down by Boniface in a stage-managed confrontation with the old gods and local heathen tribes. A fir tree growing in the roots of the Oak was claimed by Boniface as a new symbol. "This humble tree's wood is used to build your homes: let Christ be at the centre of your households. Its leaves remain evergreen in the darkest days: let Christ be your constant light. Its boughs reach out to embrace and its top points to heaven: let Christ be your Comfort and Guide." See "Christmas Tree," http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_tree (last accessed 5/31/08).

11. Ernest L. Martin, Ph.D., 1991 (author of The Star that Astonished the World (1991), "The Christmas Tree Debate," reprinted at http://www.askelm.com/doctrine/d911101.htm (accessed 5/31/08). His book on the Bethlehem star attempts to prove from historical and astronomical evidence that the Star of Bethlehem was the conjunction of several planets.

12. "Can believers, whether Messianic or Gentile, use a Christmas tree with a good conscience?," http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/messianic_judaism/112301 (accessed 5/31/08). This same silly argument is repeated again in http://www.angelfire.com/ok3/apologia/xmastree.html (accessed 5/31/2008)("the prophet Jeremiah was not even talking about decorating Christmas trees because this was a custom developed in Northern Europe centuries later.")

13. Gary DeMar, "Are Christmas trees pagan?," http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=47778 (posted 2005)(accessed 5/31/2008).

14. "Instead of condemning the Christmas tree as some pagan object brought into our homes from the pagan cold, it can be used to remind us that God promises us `the right to the tree of life' (Revelation 22:14). If the Bible tells us "to go to the ant... to observe her ways and be wise" (Proverbs 6:6), certainly we can learn similar things from God's other good creations, even trees." Gary DeMar, "Are Christmas trees pagan?," http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=47778 (posted 2005)(accessed 5/31/2008).

15. http://bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Bible.show/sVerseID/20621/eVerseID/20621 (accessed 5/31/08).

16. Dr. Richard P. Bucher, "Jeremiah 10 and the "Pagan" Christmas Tree," http://www.orlutheran.com/html/jer10.html (accessed 5/31/08).

17. "Jeremiah 10 and Christmas Trees," http://www.wcg.org/lit/church/holidays/trees.htm (accessed 5/31/08).

18. Ernest L. Martin, Ph.D., 1991 (author of The Star that Astonished the World), "The Christmas Tree Debate," reprinted at http://www.askelm.com/doctrine/d911101.htm (accessed 5/31/08).