Does the Bible forbid Christians from having Christmas trees? That question may sound strange to you, but it is actually a question that comes up quite often. To answer this question, the first thing that we would need to do is look at the scriptures and see where this question comes from. 

In the book of Jeremiah chapter 10, the prophet writes, 

Jeremiah 10 (NKJV): 

1 Hear the word which the Lord speaks to you, O house of Israel.

2 Thus says the Lord:

“Do not learn the way of the Gentiles;

Do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven,

For the Gentiles are dismayed at them.

3 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.

4 They decorate it with silver and gold;

They fasten it with nails and hammers

 So that it will not topple.

Is this passage describing someone going into the forest, cutting a Christmas tree, taking it home, decorating it, and throwing it in a sturdy stand? It certainly seems that's what it's saying. Have we gone wrong? Are we sinning when we put Christmas trees in our homes?

As a pastor, I have had this conversation with people multiple times. Some have even gotten upset with me over the years. One thing is for certain, if there is something that we are doing as Christians that the Bible teaches us not to do then it is our responsibility to be obedient to the scriptures. Every time. Without exception! 

So are Christmas trees condemned here? The answer to this question can be found by looking at the rest of this passage. The principle that is taught here is easily seen in verse 2 where Jeremiah writes "Do not learn the way of the Gentiles." He is no doubt cautioning the people of Judah not to take their way of life and practices from the Gentiles. He then describes what he means by that in the verses that were quoted above. The whole cutting down of the tree, decorating it, and placing it. However, the rest of the passage makes it clear that he's not talking about Christmas trees. (Sorry for all of the Scrooge's who were hoping I was going to come to a different conclusion, bah humbug) The cutting down of the tree and decorating it is talking about the practice of the pagans in the construction of one of their idols. What's being described here is taking wood informing in an idol. Of course, then the idol is decorated with gold and silver. It is then placed somewhere for all people to come and worship it. The practice of idolatry was rampant in Jeremiah's day and the people of Judah were often warned and cautioned against it. Jeremiah is describing this practice here. This is made clear by looking at verse 5,

"They are upright, like a palm tree,

And they cannot speak;

They must be carried,

Because they cannot go by themselves.

Do not be afraid of them,

For they cannot do evil,

Nor can they do any good.”

This object Jeremiah is describing is said to not be able to speak nor to walk nor do good or evil. Clearly, these words are used to describe an idol. He is warning the people in Judah against the practice of forming and worshiping idols. 

So can the Christian have a Christmas tree? The answer to that question is yes. At least if he is trying to make the decision based upon the scriptures referenced above. There are many things that we as American Christians do that probably cause some to scratch their head. But, to the best of my understanding, there is nowhere in Scripture that forbids the use of the Christmas tree. For me, as long as we are putting the Christmas tree up to enjoy during the Christmas season ultimately to honor and celebrate the birth of Christ. Christmas trees are okay.