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What is the origin of the Christmas tree and is it accepted in all Christian traditions?

I'm certainly not aware of a "Christmas" tree appearing in the Christmas story, so I'm curious when it was associated with the holiday.

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The origin of the Christmas tree is very well documented elsewhere, including Wikipedia.

There are some Christians that disapprove of the use of a Christmas tree (one reason documented also at wikipedia, and further discussed (with rebuttal) here).

There are some groups that do not use Christmas trees, for various reasons.

  • Some Amish do not use Christmas trees (although others do)
  • Although not considered "Christian" by many, Jehovah's Witnesses do not celebrate Christmas at all
  • Many other Evangelical groups reject some or all Christmas celebrations, on the grounds that it was originally a pagan holiday (Larger discussion on this matter here).
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Can you please add some actual content to your answer? – C. Ross Aug 24 '11 at 1:28
My understanding is that the pagan holiday was the 23rd, and the "Christmas is a pagan holiday" is a more recent innovation. The ancient church's justification for that date was that they thought the date of Christ's death (March 25, in the year he was supposed to have died) should also be the day celebrating his conception. March 25 + 9 months = Dec. 25. – cwallenpoole Sep 13 '11 at 17:35
It's not only the Witnesses who don't celebrate Christmas. It was banned under Cromwell. – TRiG Sep 26 '11 at 16:55

It has it's origins in the reformation.

One German legend claims that Martin Luther was responsible for introducing the use of Christmas trees in the home, in Germany. According to the legend, on his way home one evening, Martin Luther was so overcome by the beauty of a fir tree and stars in the sky, he wanted to tell his family about it. However, upon returning home, words failed him, so he went out and chopped the down and brought it home to share with his family. To mimic the stars that hung over the manger where Christ was born, Martin Luther decorated the tree with candle tapers. This was thought to be the first traditional Christmas tree in Germany.

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Interesting, I'd never heard this before, and I'm from a Reformed background ... – C. Ross Sep 15 '11 at 12:32

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