*Note Charlie Brownstein is the Jewish Charlie Brown
Things I never knew about always interest me. Many times I meet believers in Jesus who for one reason or anther have decided that something the Church does traditionally is no longer Holy or Sacred, but in fact pure EVIL. I was listening to an interview online of a guy who was part of the Messianic movement and has chosen to leave the movement and dive into Orthodox Judaism. He said something I found interesting that I had not heard evidence for before. He said that many Messianic believers have a hard time with the Christmas tree because of a passage in Jeremiah which talks about specifically about the Pagan practice of the tree. Here is what it says:
Hear what the LORD says to you, people of Israel. This is what the LORD says:
“Do not learn the ways of the nations
or be terrified by signs in the heavens,
though the nations are terrified by them.
For the practices of the peoples are worthless;
they cut a tree out of the forest,
and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel.
They adorn it with silver and gold;
they fasten it with hammer and nails
so it will not totter.
Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field,
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.”
So here we have this verse that describes a Pagan ritual where they would go into the forest, cut down a tree, decorate it, and put it up with some sort of tree holder, all for the purpose of worship. Sounds a lot like a Christmas tree right? Right? … Well guess what, the issue in this passage is not the tree, what you put on the tree or where you put the tree afterwords. No, not in the slightest. The issue is in the heart of the worshiper. It is what you do with your tree. For Example, a lot of Christmas films such as, Jingle All the Way”, “Polar Express”, and ”Home Alone”, have actually taken Christmas back to its Pagan roots and show kids mostly praying to the spirit of Christmas or the Christmas tree itself. Like in “Home Alone 2″ Little Macaulay Culkin has lost his family again and now misses them and goes to the huge Christmas tree in New York and prays for them to the tree. Cute right? Yeah maybe but this is exactly what God said not to do. Ok, now on the flip side, we have a Christian family who actually loves God and during Christmas they decorate their home traditionally but they never lose sight of who Jesus is and who God is. Their hearts are on God not on a tree they decorated.
Perhaps it is true that our hearts will wander away from God because of tradition and ignorance. God warns His people about this many times. But Messiah redeems all things and makes them new. What was once used as idol worship has become an icon the celebration of Messiah’s birth. Jesus transforms tradition and practice into worship of God. What was once Pagan is now holy because of Jesus’ transforming power.
I leave you with this, Jewish Believers, don’t be afraid of decorated trees and treat it as if it is a sin. This isolates you from other believers and makes you vulnerable to attack. Non-Jewish believers, don’t let tradition become higher than God. If it does perhaps consider not having a tree that distracts you from Christmas’ true meaning. We celebrate the day God took on flesh so that later He could die on a tree and bring us life everlasting.
Thanks for reading.