Wednesday, November 23, 2005

To Tree or Not To Tree: God Answers the Question

Living in the Bible Belt has its advantages. People are always caring about my soul. Perfect strangers think nothing about taking time out of their busy day to help me come to Jesus. Of course some are less polite than others. Once around Easter I was stopped by a very worried man who saw me eating a round Tostitos corn chip. Noticing the Star of David I wear around my neck, and fearful that I was desecrating the Host (the consecrated wafer that for Catholics becomes the actual Body of Christ), he demanded to test the corn chip. “It’s corn,” I said calmly. “The Host must be made of wheat.” “Let me see it anyway,” he insisted. I gave it to him. “OK,” he said, “can’t be too careful with you people.”

Can’t be too careful with people like him either. I now eat Tostitos in private, taking care in public to eat only triangle-shaped Doritos. While it is true that in some cultures this shape represents the vagina, here in Tennessee it is only a corn chip.

I mention this only to say how pleased I am as Christmas approaches that I can be of service to my Christian neighbors, and warn them of the danger of erecting Christmas Trees in direct violation of God’s will. Actually I had no idea that God opposed Christmas Trees, but I was listening to one of our local talk shows and a caller came on to enlighten his fellow Christians of their pagan foolishness. He cited chapter and verse in the Bible to prove his point. The show’s host got an English Bible and confirmed the man’s citation. When I got home I did the same in the Hebrew:

Thus says The LORD: Do not learn from the way of the nations; do not be frightened by the signs of the heavens, though the nations are frightened by them. For the practices of the nations are foolish; [for one takes] a tree he has cut down from the forest, fashioned by an artisan with an adze, embellishes it with silver and gold, fastens it with nails and with hammers so that it does not come apart… (Jeremiah 10:1-5).

Taking the commandment to love my neighbor as myself, I plan to print this passage on cards with a Christmas Tree marked with a slash indicating NO CHRISTMAS TREES, and place them in mailboxes around my town. I thought about adding my name and address to the cards so that my neighbors could thank me for my thoughtfulness, but I realize this is verging on the sin of spiritual pride, so I am opting for anonymity. I am risking exposure here so as to invite you to make cards of your own and save your neighbor the embarrassment of having to explain to God why they ignored His warning.

Anyway, as they say in Wal-Mart, Have a Happy Holiday.

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