When I first heard this story, I thought it was some nutty environmentalist. Maybe some tree hugger was upset with Sarah Palin because she and her family chapped down an oxygen-giving evergreen conifer only to burn it a few weeks later with the result that the gasses would end up contributing to Global Warming.
Boy, was I wrong. Joy Reid, of MSNBC, who was filling in for nutter Ed Shultz, noted that in an interview with Sarah Palin on Fox, a Christmas tree could be seen in the background of the Palin home.
It seems that Joy Reid is a Bible scholar. I’ve noticed lately that a lot of liberals are turning to the Bible in support of liberal causes like wealth redistribution and not judging same-sex sex while claiming that Christians are hypocrites for not loving everybody.
Reid’s attack on Sarah Palin’s evergreen tree into her family’s house is based on the Bible. It’s found in Jeremiah 10:3-4 (also see Isa. 40:19-20):
For the customs of the peoples are delusion;
Because it is wood cut from the forest,
The work of the hands of a craftsman with a cutting tool.
They decorate it with silver and with gold;
They fasten it with nails and with hammers
So that it will not totter.
Context is everything when interpreting literature, and that includes the Bible. Jeremiah 10 is about idol worship and the manufacture of handcrafted aids for pagan worship. The tree is fashioned into the shape of a pagan god and overlaid with precious metals.
For millennia idol worshipers have bowed down before heavenly bodies — sun, moon, and stars — calling them their gods. There were people in Isaiah’s day who looked to “astrologers, those who prophesy by the stars, those who predict by the new moons” seeking guidance (Isa. 47:13). Should we remove all artistic renderings of the sun, moon, and stars because of what idol worshipers have done? Is our flag pagan because it has 50 stars on it?
Even with the misuse of the heavenly bodies, this did not stop God from choosing the sun, moon, and stars to symbolize His chosen nation Israel (Gen. 37:9–11; Rev. 12:1–2). And neither did it stop Him from using a star to announce the birth of Jesus (Matt. 2:2). It’s important to recall that the nation of Israel is represented as sun, moon, and stars (Gen. 37:9; Rev. 12:1-2).
Jeremiah is describing idol worship, and he ridicules it: “Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field are they, and they cannot speak; they must be carried, because they cannot walk! Do not fear them, for they can do no harm, nor can they do any good” (Jer. 10:5). Who worships a “Christmas tree”?
What happens when the Christmas season passes? The tree is either taken to a recycling center or burned in the backyard. No one would ever do this to an idol.
There are carved engraved figures of cherubim and palm trees and open flowers in the inner and outer rooms of the temple (1 Kings 6:29). The two doors are made of olivewood with carvings of cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers (1 Kings 6:32)
Following Reid’s logic, we should stop eating meat and drinking milk because the Israelites who came out of Egypt made a golden calf and worshiped it (Ex. 32)?
Sex has been used in pagan rituals. Some people worship money. Every good thing given by God can be abused. The Romans were pagans and used trees for crucifixion. Because Jesus was crucified on a tree, and the Bible says that anyone who hangs on a tree is cursed (Deut. 21:23; Gal. 3:13), therefore we should not use trees?
Here are some wise comments from the article “Jeremiah 10 and the ‘Pagan’ Christmas Tree” by Dr. Richard P. Bucher:
“[I]it is abundantly clear that the ‘decorated tree’ to which Jeremiah 10 refers is an idol, very likely the Asherah. Therefore, it is very superficial Bible interpretation and pure silliness to understand this passage as directly referring to the use of a fir tree for Christmas! If, and I repeat, if those who set up a Christmas tree fall down and worship it as a god or goddess, complete with altars and incense stands, then Jeremiah 10 applies here.
“Or if someone loves their Christmas tree more than God, then such a thing might also be considered spiritual idolatry. But apart from these exceptions, I think it is abundantly clear that Christians who erect Christmas trees are NOT worshiping them as gods or goddesses, nor are they loving them more than their Savior Jesus Christ. They are simply using the Christmas tree as a fun custom, one that can remind them of Jesus who is the branch of David (Jeremiah 23:5; 33:15), the root of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1).
“One that can remind them of the tree that led Adam and Eve to sin, but more importantly, the tree on which Christ Jesus died to make atonement for the sins of the whole world (Acts 5:30; Gal. 3:13; 1 Peter 2:24).
Instead of condemning the evergreen tree as some pagan object brought into our homes from the cold, let’s view it as a reminder that God promises us “the right to the tree of life” (Rev. 22:14).