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Why We Have A Tree But Don’t Do Santa

Why we do a tree but no Santa

The Christmas Tree

A subject that brings a dear friend of my to tears and makes the rest of our ‘lil Bible study group wonder. Is a Christmas tree part of a Pagan ritual, forbidden in the Bible? Is there scripture that indicates cutting down a tree is a sinful act?

Hang tight, I’m about to offend some of you and inspire others…………

The Bible does not forbid Christmas trees.

The passage many turn to when they say we should not have trees in our home is out of Jeremiah.

“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. 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.” ~ Jeremiah 10:2-4

Basic Hermeneutical Principles must be applied when we look at this passage (as we should any passage we are trying to understand in depth.)

I will not expand on all principles here but I encourage you to study this out for yourself. Here’s a short overview.

  • The audience of this passage was the Israelites in a time when many were falling away from God and worshiping idol gods.
  • As you read the entire chapter, Jeremiah goes on to give more detail about these trees and the practice of the pagans with the trees. By the end of Jeremiah’s description the tree has been carved into the likeness of something/someone and is plated with gold and silver.
  • When you dig into the Hebrew from KJV there is reference to workman which is translated from the Hebrew word chârâsh meaning a skilled craftsman, engraver or artificer. Jeremiah nine also uses the word râqa‛ which means silver plates, an implication of an overlay.
  • What would this look like in modern day? Do we worship our tree? Is it the central focus of our Christmas season? Do we put exorbitant amounts of time and money into our tree?  If so, perhaps the tree is wrong for you.

The pagans were cutting down trees, whittling or carving them into gods, gold and sliver plating them and worshiping them.

This is not a Christmas tree. 

When the question was brought up about Christmas trees in our Bible study I really had to examine my heart. Would I give up the tree if indeed it was against scripture? How could I get my husband to understand that? I did not want to do wrong by God. The following week we dug in and the above is the result. I have no hesitation about the presence of  a tree. I do not worship my tree, it is not a god. It could be taken away today and I would be sad but not upset or devastated.   I know that my heart is open to God’s leading. Our tree is part of the new traditions we are forming as a family.

If you are convicted not to have a tree, don’t do it. Not because it’s law but a conviction on your heart. Just like wearing a skirt.

But We Don’t Do Santa

why we don't do santa

I don’t belive my son will think I’m a liar if we do Santa. Believing in Santa isn’t driving people to the counseling couch. Well, maybe someone somewhere but not the masses.

My issue with Santa is that constant “Naughty or Nice” and “he’s watching you” as well as the confusion it could lead to about the truth in things we cannot see.

I think folks hear “we don’t do Santa” and think that means their children are pale, pasty kids who stay at home from November 1st until the new year.

Not doing Santa means we talk about Santa, we acknowledge him (after all he is everywhere) but we explain that he is a fun pretend thing, not the reason we choose to celebrate Christmas. Nor is he the one who brings us our gifts.  Wyatt even wanted sit on Santa’s lap and we went into that with the concept that we’re pretending, like we would when we play dress up cowboy. Perhaps next year we’ll explore the true St. Nicholas but right now we’re focusing on other aspects of Christmas that we feel are foundational.

What it means when we say we don't do Santa

Not doing Santa means we focus not on gifts given by a man in a red suit who determines the righteousness of our behavior, but on the gift God gave us the day Jesus was born. A man born to die for us, Old Testament prophecy fulfilled and the beginning of a life that is an example for us to live by. 

This post from Gospel-Centered Mama sums up much of how I feel.

There are many scriptures that are open to argument or dispute because it isn’t a “Thou Shalt Not” directive but we reminded in Romans to not argue over such things.

Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.  But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.  For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.  So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.~ Romans 14:1-13

Having a tree or playing the Santa tradition is not going to keep you out of Heaven.  So no matter your stance on these, I pray you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Do you “do” Santa and a tree? Why or why not?

 

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Comments

  1. Agreed, but please proof read your posts for grammatical errors.

  2. We don’t do Santa mainly for the same reasons you sited. I don’t think he’s evil, he’s just not necessary. I know families that have Santa, and still focus on the real reason for Christmas – Jesus. I didn’t have Santa growing up and our Christmases were still magical and filled with awe. I actually felt bad for the kids who did believe in Santa. At least when we were kids we didn’t have the elf on the shelf craze. That thing terrifies me….he sits and watches you and reports back to Santa? Really?? I really enjoy Christmas, the busyness, the excitement, but if I had to wait in line for Santa, or move a freakish looking elf around everyday, I would dread Christmas. It would be too hectic and stressful, and, again, not necessary.

  3. We do have a tree and we practice other cultural traditions- gift giving, gingerbread houses, hanging stockings. But we don’t do Santa. I do think it’s lying to kids, and that bothers me. But, I also agree with you about the naughty and nice. I’ve never understood why we would want to make our kids think that how good you are determines whether or not you “earn” gifts.

  4. We fully embrace the fun of Christmas in addition to the real meaning of Christ. We don’t do Santa either and the lying aspect is a big deal for me. The problem with people who dismiss the lying aspect is they don’t fully know their child’s personality when they make the decision to do Santa or not. Some kids could find out it wasn’t true and it will not really phase them. Some children WILL feel betrayed and lied to. We opted to err on the side of caution and I’m really glad we did. My imaginative daughter would have been ENTHRALLED with the entire Santa thing, but she would have been devastated to learn we lied to her. We frequently talk about the fact that we don’t and won’t lie to her and we also expect honestly from her. For my conscience, doing Santa goes against that. My concern is for the children who will feel betrayed and lied to. That’s a lot to deal with and process at a young age.

    • I should have worded part of this better. Instead of “the problem with people who dismiss the lying aspect” I should have said a more general” the problem with dismissing the lying aspect.” I don’t want it to sound like I’m attacking people. Sorry!

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