Christmas Day has always been honored in my Christian family ever since I came to understand the meaning of Christmas. My elder brothers and I were always mandated to acquire the family’s annual Christmas tree and decorate it well. It was a practice we always enjoyed, and we took it passionately. Fifteen years ago, I got born again and joined the ministry where I was coincidentally given the same role of decorating the church Christmas tree. A random teenager who appreciated my work approached me one Christmas and wanted to know the meaning of the Christmas tree in the Bible.
No Biblical verses mention the meaning of the Christmas tree since the idea originated long after the Bible was written. Some Christians have suggested that in Jeremiah 10:1-5 the Bible could be talking about the Christmas tree. However, some scholars have argued that the Bible was only a warning about idolatry, not the Christmas tree that came later to honor Jesus Christ. Therefore, the Bible has not mentioned something about Christmas trees other than the verse that has been interpreted differently.
I welcome you to join me as we delve into the meaning of the Christmas tree in the Bible. We will also discuss the origin of the Christmas tree and whether the Bible has mentioned anything to do with Christmas trees. Furthermore, we will discuss the spiritual meaning of the Christmas tree. Read to the end to learn more about these topics.
Are Christmas trees mentioned in the BibleBible?
Christmas trees are not mentioned in the Bible. However, a group of Christians interpreted one of the verses to mean God forbids us from having Christmas trees. In Jeremiah 10:1-5 the Bible talks about the ways of the Gentiles who cut down trees and decorated them with silver and gold. They are also fastened with nails, and some versions of the Bible describe it as looking at the scarecrow. Some Christians believed that God was talking about the Christmas tree.
However, some have come out with their argument based on the Bible versions that have mentioned that tree as an idol. They have argued that this particular Christmas tree has been mentioned as an idol and cannot speak or do either good or bad. They assumed that God was talking about the idols that the Gentiles used to worship. They have further argued that the Christmas tree came long after the Bible had been drafted and therefore has not been mentioned in the scriptures.
Both groups of Christians argue whether the Bible mentions the Christmas tree. However, checking the Bible verses does not directly mention the Christmas tree, leaving us with only assumptions.
What does the Bible say about Christmas trees?
The Bible has not said anything about Christmas trees. The only verse that has come close to mentioning something like a Christmas tree is Jeremiah 10:1-5. However, the verse has several interpretations that do not point it out as being a Christmas tree. Furthermore, the Gentiles never celebrated Christmas Day.
Are there bible verses that talk about Christmas trees?
While checking the Bible, I have not encountered a verse about Christmas trees. There has yet to be a record of a verse mentioning the Christmas tree. It is believed that the Christmas tree idea came long after the Bible was written, and therefore there was no chance of it appearing in the Bible.
Do Christmas trees originate from Christian or folklore beliefs?
Christmas trees originated from folklore beliefs and not Christian ones. The modern Christmas originated from an ancient German play about Adam and Eve and was used as the main prop of the play. A fir tree decorated with apples would be used as a symbol of the tree at the Garden of Eden during the performance of this play. On the 24th of December, Germans began setting up Paradise trees and hanging on wafers that symbolized the Eucharistic host. They later replaced the wafers with different-shaped cookies.
A triangular pyramid was also present in the room and had decorations of a candle, a star, and evergreens. The light from the candle was a symbol of Jesus Christ being the light of the world. In the 16th century, the Paradise tree and the Christmas pyramid were merged to give birth to the famous Christmas tree.
The modern Christmas tree, therefore, originated from some old German folklore traditions and beliefs and not from Christianity as recorded in history.
Spiritual meaning of a Christmas tree
Some believe the Christmas tree bears the spiritual meaning of everlasting life and survival. They have derived this belief from the evergreen nature of the pine and fir trees that have long been used as Christmas trees. In the early traditions, they observed that the evergreen nature of the tree survived even during the winter. They believed that surviving even the harshest winter conditions while still retaining its green color could symbolize everlasting life.
The Christmas tree could therefore be taken to spiritually mean and symbolize everlasting life given to us by Jesus Christ. In John 3:16, the Bible tells us that God loved the world so much that He gave His only son to the world so that whoever believes in Him shall have everlasting life. The Christmas tree is one of the symbols used to celebrate the birth of the world’s savior and could, therefore, spiritually be used to mean eternal life.
Some people have spiritually translated the retaining of green to mean that Jesus Christ never changes. In Hebrews 13:8, Jesus Christ is said never to change and will always host the same nature He has always had. The way he was yesterday is the same as today and tomorrow. Therefore, they assumed that the tree’s nature could be spiritually used to show the unchanging nature of Jesus Christ.
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
To some people, the three candy cane lines represent the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is where the Holy Trinity comes into existence. Initially, the world was empty and lonely, and there was no life other than the spirit of God hovering around. The Holy Trinity then started by making light, separating it from darkness, and making all the other things in the world, including man. On the 7th day, they rested, making the world a good place for humankind.
Therefore, the candy cane lines on the Christmas tree spiritually symbolize the perfect Holy Trinity that ensured life came to the world. Without them, the world would still be formless and desolate.
Some people have spiritually associated the candles lit on the Christmas tree with Jesus Christ. To them, the light produced by the candles represents Jesus Christ, who is referred to as the light of the world in. Jesus Christ came to save the world and ensure we saw the light. He fought the devil and gave salvation to humankind, making the world triumph over darkness. Therefore, they believe that the candles on the Christmas tree spiritually represent Jesus Christ as the world’s light. Some people believe in these three spiritual meanings of the Christmas tree.
Christmas Tree Meaning and Symbolism in History, Myth, and Lore
Christmas tree meaning in History, Myth, and Lore
Some people have linked the idea of Christmas to the residents of Strasbourg. During that era, residents of Strasbourg would decorate some trees with apples. Around 1611, it is recorded that a Silesian Duchess lit some candles on the tree, the first person to try that specific tradition. The Christmas tree was believed to be born in this era and became popular in the 19th century. It involved an Advent tradition where an advent wreath would be made from fir branches and then decorated with 24 candles. With time, those who practised this found the 24 candles too many for the occasion and reduced them to four.
Other writers have linked the origin of the Christmas tree to the ancient traditions of the Egyptians and Romans. It is believed that during this era, some evergreen trees that survived the winter bore special meanings to the people. They would hang the branches of these evergreen trees on their doors and believed they had the powers to chase away evil spirits, witches, ghosts, and even illnesses.
Around the northern hemisphere, the 21st or 22nd of December is when the winter solstice occurs, and the shortest day and longest night are experienced. The ancient people of this area believed that winter occurred because of the illness experienced by the sun God. Therefore, they celebrated this day in honor of the sun god they believed would get well soon. With him getting well, the green plants would return the same as the summer season, which they fancied. They used evergreen boughs to symbolize the green plants that would soon dominate their fields.
In ancient Egypt, a god called Ra would be worshipped during the winter solstice. They also believed that he used to get sick during this moment but would soon get better and bless them with the harvest. Egyptian homes were filled with green palm rushes, a symbol of their life triumphing over death.
On the other hand, Ancient Romans celebrated the solstice with a festival called Saturnalia. They commemorated their God of agriculture, whom they referred to as Saturn. The solstice indicated that their orchards and farms would soon turn green and productive again. They, therefore, took this moment to decorate their homes and places of worship with evergreen boughs.
For the ancient Celts, their priests used evergreen boughs as decorations for their temples to symbolize their everlasting life. In Scandinavia, the Vikings believed that evergreens were a specially chosen plant for the sun god.
These evergreen boughs are associated with the birth of the modern Christmas tree in Germany around the 16th century. During that time, several devout Christians were recorded bringing decorated trees to their houses. Some trees were decorated with Christmas pyramids, while some were decorated with candles and wood.
It is also believed that Martin Luther was the first man to add lighted candles to the Christmas tree after being amazed by the twinkling stars between evergreens. He decided to recreate the stars using candles on a Christmas tree and recreated a beautiful family moment.
In America, Christmas trees were regarded as pagan symbols by the late 1840s. The first Christmas tree was spotted in a German settlement in Pennsylvania around 1830. By then, the Americans did not buy into Christmas trees. This idea was finally accepted in the 19th century when increased German and Irish residents stamped out outdated laws that had outlawed Christmas trees and decorations. With the number of residents increasing, Christmas trees became a norm that even the Americans accepted and made their routine Christmas symbol.
The Christmas tree became popular in Britain when Queen Victoria was sketched with her husband, Prince Albert, and their family in front of a Christmas tree in 1846. Prince Albert was a German. The sketch was put in a favorite London Newspaper and appreciated by Britain’s people.
By 1890, the Britons started importing Christmas ornaments and trees from Germany. The Europeans preferred to use smaller Christmas trees that measured about 4 feet. In America, the popularity of Christmas trees and ornaments was also increasing as they preferred taller Christmas trees that could reach the ceiling from the floor.
The beginning of the 20th century marked the beginning of an era of decorating the Christmas tree with unique materials like food. In America, homemade ornaments were utilized as decorations for Christmas trees. The German Americans preferred cookies, nuts, and apples as decorations for their Christmas trees. Bright-coloured popcorn and berries were also added to the list of decorations. Christmas lights powered with electricity made the trees glow for several days. With these, Christmas trees became a tradition in cities, towns, and homes around America.
The symbolism of the Christmas tree
When Martin Luther lit the candle on the Christmas tree for the first time, it symbolized the triumph of Jesus Christ over death. With Jesus Christ rising from the dead, He defeated the deeds of darkness. Death is equated to darkness, while life is equated to light. In 1 Corinthians 15:55, Jesus Christ is said to have defeated death and sin and secured the world from Satan. He brought light to the world and promised us that death would be no more someday. The candles, therefore, symbolize how Jesus Christ defeated death and gave us believers everlasting life that we will experience in his kingdom.
The green color of the evergreen tree symbolizes life given to us by Jesus Christ himself. The green color usually represents plant life and prosperity in the fields. However, the green color of the Christmas tree represents the everlasting life that Jesus Christ promised those who believe in him. In John 14:6, Jesus tells us that He is the way, the truth, and the life and that no one can go to the Father except through Him. The green color, therefore, reminds us of Jesus Christ as the source and giver of everlasting life.
The color of the evergreen tree never changes throughout the period. The color survives even the harshest conditions brought about by winter. To some people, the unchanging color symbolizes the nature of Jesus Christ depicted in Hebrew 13:8. The verse tells us that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. The same way he changes, not in the same way the evergreen trees never change their color.
Some people usually accompany their Christmas trees with gifts and presents usually put at the tree’s base. To them, the tree represents Jesus Christ, the reason for celebrating Christmas. To them, the presents we put there are an equivalent of those that were put there by wise men. Those who put the gifts there represent the wise men who came to honor and worship baby Jesus. The gifts usually belong to the people at the homestead, who open them after a day or two. By sharing these gifts, they symbolize Christ’s love for us and how he generously shared it with us.
Some people believe that the trees’ pointed branches represent the thorns used to make the crown that Jesus was given. They feel like the pointed ages symbolize the crown on his head to mock him as the King of the Jews. They also believe that the red ribbons used on the trees symbolize the blood that Jesus Christ shed on behalf of the world for the forgiveness of sin. This blood was shed on the cross leading to the cleansing of the world’s sins.
These are some symbols that some people worldwide have associated with the Christmas tree. Generally, the tree symbolizes Jesus Christ as the light of the world and the giver of eternal life.
They say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, right? Being raised by Christians significantly impacted my life since I started professing Christ from a young age. My passion for the Christian faith made me pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology. I am a believer and pastor dedicated to spreading the word of God. I have been in the Christian ministry for over a decade and am currently ministering in Life Christian Church. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Please check the About Us Page for more details.