The passage you are referring to is Jeremiah 10:2-5: “Thus says the LORD: ‘Do not learn the way of the nations….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. 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’” (NASB).

The Lord is clearly condemning IDOLATRY in these verses, for in the vanity of their hearts pagan Gentiles would cut down a tree, hand it over to a craftsman to have it fashioned into a certain image, cover it with silver and gold, put it on a base and stand it up, and call it their “god.” This form of idolatry was also condemned in Isaiah 40:18-20: “To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare with Him? As for the idol, a craftsman casts it, a goldsmith plates it with gold, and a silversmith fashions chains of silver. He who is too impoverished for such an offering selects a tree that does not rot; He seeks out for himself a skillful craftsman to prepare an idol that will not totter.” This is absolutely ridiculous, for the idol (in this case) was simply a dead piece of wood that couldn’t walk, speak or stand on its own, and it was powerless to harm or bless anyone. Because there was a tendency for Israel to follow the paganism of the nations around them, God was constantly warning them: “Do not learn the way of the nations.”

Many have thought this passage illustrates the “Christmas tree” which is cut down from a forest, placed on a base, decorated with ornaments, and then admired for its beauty. But as we have seen, the pagan practice described by Jeremiah was an actual form of idolatry where the tree itself was looked upon as a “god” that they worshipped. They even prayed to this “god” and sought counsel from it. Having said that, the holiday we call “Christmas” does have its roots in paganism. In paganism, there was a festival on December 25th in honor of their “sun god” (because the days were getting longer) and in order to appease their pagan converts, the Roman Catholic Church changed the festival into a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. This is all well-documented and one can easily read up on this by doing a “Search” on the internet or by visiting your public library. We do need to be aware of its pagan origin and then let the Word of God and our conscience dictate whether or not we should celebrate this holiday. (252.5) (DO)