Every year, the holiday spirit is quenched by millions of Americans who feel injured because they didn’t get their way with the Christmas tree debate. I think it’s time we realized that this is not a battle we should be fighting.
Christmas trees aren’t exactly a Christian practice, they’re just decoration. Since the late middle ages, fir trees and similar greenery have been associated with Christmas, and it always makes me smile to see these wreaths and evergreen trees decorate the streets in December. (Some armchair historians will try to tell you that Christmas trees resemble an ancient, pagan tradition; these people are mistaken.)
But my happiness is always cut short by the voices arguing about what these trees should be called, and, the problem is, I don’t think it matters. Calling it a “holiday tree” doesn’t hurt anything. In fact, I think the church should embrace this change.
Everyone hates the commercialization of Christmas, and the holiday is associated with lots of things that have nothing to do with Jesus’ birth. Strangely enough, the people who say that we should maintain the True Meaning of Christmas are the same folks who protest the term “holiday tree.” Why are we so desperate to call them “Christmas trees” when it only obfuscates the meaning of the holiday? What does a fir tree have to do with the Christmas story?
So, let the stores call it a “holiday tree.” And the lights on our houses can be “holiday lights,” for all I care. Then, when we gather to discuss Christmas, we won’t be talking about snowmen or fir trees, we’ll be talking about the Incarnation. Separating “holiday” things from “Christmas” things would actually be doing the church a favor.
(More articles at www.ThinkingThroughChristianity.com)