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We are missing the point of what Christmas means

The Christmas tree is a focal point in millions of homes and many churches are now hosting Christmas Tree Festivals with trees adorning the sanctuary of the church to attract people in to view them.

This all sounds laudable, but what does the Bible say about the practice of decorating trees? It may surprise some to know that God does not approve of such practices as they are directly linked to paganism. The holly, ivy, mistletoe and yule log are all pagan symbols connected with the worship of false gods or of nature itself, but not of God.

In Jeremiah chapter 10, verses 2-4, we read: "Thus says the Lord: For the customs of the peoples are futile; For one cuts a tree from the forest, The work of the hands of the workman, with the ax. They decorate it with silver and gold; They fasten it with nails and hammers so that it will not topple." Sound familiar? These practices were never observed by the New Testament Church, so how have they slipped into the heart of Christian worship in modern times? Not only do Christians not avoid pagan practice, but they actually venerate the very symbols that the Bible condemns.

Christmas pulls on the heart strings for its warmth of spirit and yearly embrace of loved ones but its commercial side far outweighs any religious significance that may be left.

The sad thing is those who proclaim to follow Him seem to be getting louder each year in proclaiming the Christmas message and defending the holiday as if it was commanded by God in the Bible. It really is the most peaceful time of year. The story of the Incarnation of Christ should be taught as part of the Gospel story but it doesn't have to be on December 25 when it would be too cold for Mary to give birth outside in frosty Bethlehem.

Colin nevin

Bangor

Belfast Telegraph

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