Friday, November 27, 2009

Christmas Tree

About five years ago, my brother, whose name is Dan, moved across the country to Colorado. A lot of things have changed for both he and me since then, including his decision to remove himself from contact from everyone in our family, everyone except my husband and me. This has put me in an awkward position, but I'm glad he's still in my life.

He is a devout Christian, and I am thankful for his zeal. Brother-Dan and husband-Dan have interesting discussions on various Biblical topics and I am glad that they share that fellowship. But brother-Dan doesn't celebrate Christmas (in a non-Jehovah's Witness kind of way). He has been sending husband-Dan anti-Christmas Bible verses, which I would argue are being taken way out of context. I'm a "submit-to-your-husband-even-when-you-disagree" kind of girl, so it looks like we don't get a Christmas tree this year, although the rest of Christmas is on. So I'm going to tell you about how I would normally be decorating the tree today, the day after Thanksgiving.

No Ornaments

We have a fine collection of jovial, colorful ornaments given to me by my mother on my first Christmas as a young wife. They are lovely and colorful and breakable and maybe will be used some day when we don't have little kids.

Roses

I have dried all of the roses that Dan has given to me since our courtship days. I don't get as many after four years of marraige, and some have been damaged through our myriad of moves. Still, roses would be adorning the tree.


String of Pearls

The pearls were bought at the Dollar Tree years ago, and are just a string of plastic white pearls. I used them to decorate our wedding hall, and they have been used for many things since, including the garland on our tree.


Potpourri

Last year, when I saw a few more roses had been crushed, I went to Walmart's craft section and found a bag of cream colored potpourri. It had fun shapes and the color was perfect for my little tree of neutrals.


Lights and Tree

I used white lights. I can't remember if I got them in an after-Christmas sale or if I got them from the Free Store. The Free Store was a small shop where you dropped off what you didn't need and looked through what others had dropped off to see if there was anything you needed. We moved away from it, sadly, but that's where I got my three foot fake tree.

78 comments:

Captain Cleavage said...

I'm sorry about you not being able to have a tree this year :(. I love the tree tradition and I would cry if we for whatever reason couldn't have one. DH and I use the tree as part of our nativity decoration. But kudos to you for not trying to start an issue over somethng that mny people would consider silly (I would not be that strong....it's the irish italian in me! lol)

Atheist Mama said...

Emily...Have you heard about Jesse Trees? You might want to look into that.

It would be a fun and informative way to celebrate the holiday.

I made one out of felt...but you can use anything, really :)

Kat said...

Not to diminish the Pagan origins at all, but I've often heard the idea of the "modern Xmas tree" credited to Martin Luthe.

Emily said...

Athiest Mama, I have, I never thought of using the "root of Jesse" verse in this debate with DH. That's cool that you're doing it.

Kat, that maybe true. I know that Christmas is Catholic more than protestant, but we've adopted it (and enjoyed it). I can agree with my DH that it's not from the Bible, whereever it is from.

Atheist Mama said...

Emily...oh! I'm actually NOT doing it - as I'm atheist, lol...but it's something I did in the past and DD really enjoyed.

I always liked the idea of celebrating the entire advent season - vs. one day. I thought it really did a good job of making the holiday focus on Jesus.

Nota said...

I respect the whole 'submit' part of your beliefs (though it differs strongly from mine), but I get a passive-aggressive undercurrent on this post that makes me smile.

Is there a possibility that having the things that remind you of your courtship and wedding out are what makes you happiest about having the tree? You could find a way to use those things to decorate (maybe make a wreath from the roses) without the tree.

Emily said...

Nota, we discussed a wreath instead, but I don't think that will happen either. I do like the romantic element of this tree, and use the pearls for various things year round - my cucumber vines climbed them over the summer - so I may find ways to be extra decorative with them for the holidays.

Scottish Twins said...

Emily - would you mind sharing some of your husband's reasons?

Sorry you don't get to have a tree. :(

I'm a submitter as well, but this one would be really hard for me to swallow.

Emily said...

Scottish Twins, Jeremiah 10 speaks of chopping down a tree, propping it up and decorating it. It sounds like a Christmas tree in the NIV, but an idol carved of wood in other versions. Then Deuteronomy 12:4 says not to worship God as heathens do. It's hard for me to explain his position adequately since it's not mine, so if this seems like not a good arguement, it might be my rendering of it.

Clisby said...

I don't know - I don't get this. I mean, I get Christians who don't celebrate Christmas at all because it isn't biblical, or who celebrate Christmas as a purely secular holiday. But if you're going to celebrate Christmas, why is it important not to have a tree? If you carry out a non-biblical celebration, why do biblical references have any relevance?

Stephanie said...

Well seeing as the Christians ripped off Christmas from the Pagans......I think it is good that you don't have a tree. Save the trees and Yule logs for Wiccans like me that understand their meaning.

Blessings!

Rebecca said...

New poster here.
Last year we did a Bible verse wall. My son and I cut out a star and other items that had to do with the Bible. We used different colors of construction paper. We wrote scriptures on them about the birth of Christ and we put them on the wall. It was very nice and the small tree we did have was not the "big" eye catcher of the holiday.

Maybe something like that would be nice for your kids to do?

Love your blog by the way.LOL

Rebecca

Anonymous said...

luckily my husband is of the "if mama ain't happy, no ones happy" school of thought. he pretty much goes along with whatever i say.

during our 12 year marriage we're had big real trees, and big fake trees. this year i decided to only have a table top tree and he said "ok baby, whatever you want"

and yes, i realize how lucky i am.

Scottish Twins said...

Emily - that makes more sense to me. If his reasons had to do with Pagan roots, then it seemed sort of silly. I mean, why celebrate it on December 25 then since that has Pagan roots.

But his reason, although I don't think I fully understand it, makes a little more sense.

spookygrlfriend said...

Martin Luther IS credited as the first person to drag a tree inside & decorate it for Christmas. I'm sure pagans decorated trees outside, but I have to think they'd have been opposed to killing them for their purposes.

Petty battles like this are so ridiculous, and largely why I can't understand very much of the big religions. Seriously, who CARES? Why would anyone worship a god who's going to damn you for wanting to decorate a tree? Nobody's worshipping the tree as a god. Might as well damn you for watching fireworks on the 4th or eating turkey at Thanksgiving.

Anonymous said...

Love your blog, I am one of Jehovah's Witnesses and I think it's important and good that your brother and husband are thinking of origins and what God really wants and commands us to do in His Word, instead of just blindly doing something for the sake of 'tradition'. However, I respect that it is difficult for you to drop cold-turkey something that seems to be sentimental to you. Keep up the awesome blog!

Anonymous said...

"I don't know - I don't get this. I mean, I get Christians who don't celebrate Christmas at all because it isn't biblical, or who celebrate Christmas as a purely secular holiday. But if you're going to celebrate Christmas, why is it important not to have a tree? If you carry out a non-biblical celebration, why do biblical references have any relevance?"

That's the question I have as well. Please consider this article by A. W. Pink:

http://www.apuritansmind.com/Christmas/AWPinkOnChristmas.htm

Green In OC said...

A couple of years ago my sister went to bring in the fake Christmas tree, acquired from Freecycle, realized it was missing from the garage.

The kids asked what they were going to do. She posted again on Freecycle but since it was in the throes of the season they came up short. She didn't want to purchase new plastic so they went to the Christmas tree lot.

One of my nephews, just learning about the value of money, realized that $50 was A LOT of money. He asked if they could pull in a plant from outside and decorate it instead with the caveat that Santa Claus would be able to spend the money saved on the Christmas tree for presents instead!

Everyone agreed and they did that for a few years and then last year they decided to draw a Christmas tree and all of the decorations and put it up on the wall.

For the last 5 years or so they have had what she refers to as "Freecycle Christmas" - all of the gifts (even the ones from Santa Claus have come from Freecycle. None of the kids realizes this and they are just as thrilled with the new to them toys as brand new.

Emily said...

Why no tree but continue with the rest of Christmas?

Almost everything else in Christmas is social and family obligations, parties and gift exchanges. Taking ourselves out of these obligations would do damage to those relationships and we won't do that.

TaraMaureen said...

Emily,

It sounds as though you really do want a tree. What about your husband taking YOUR feelings into consideration? Don't you matter? Don't your children matter? Or does it only matter that he is the head of the household even if he's wrong? If he told you to throw your children off a balcony because "God said so" will you do so because you're a "submitt even when he's wrong" person? I'm sorry but this post reeks of emotional abuse.

Treva said...

I haven't known many, but I've known a couple of Christian families that don't celebrate Christmas in December, but wait until March-ish b/c that's supposed to be closer to the actual birth of Jesus. They also didn't celebrate Easter with eggs or candy or anything b/c that is also of Pagan origins.

My church has a Christmas tree and we just made new Chrismons for it, which are Christian symbols. At home we have a fake tree, but if we didn't, I would get a tree that still has the root structure attached to it so it could be planted outdoors or kept in the pot for as long as possible.

I know your husband is still figuring things out and making decisions as he learns new facts and feels God leading him in a certain direction and I'm wondering how he's going to mesh those beliefs with a church that may have more modern traditions, like a Christmas tree in December and an Easter egg hunt for the kids on Easter Sunday. Or does your husband perhaps feel led to start a new church where the lesser known ideas of not having a tree or Easter eggs could be incorporated? Just curious.

Emily said...

TaraMaureen, I CHOOSE to submit. It would be emotional abuse if he somehow forced me to, like hiding the tree, or putting it out with the trash. Instead, he told me what he's been thinking about and I asked him if he wanted to forego the tree. I still wanted to write about our cute litte tree, which is also frugal. And yes, if it were up to me, we would have it, but I have CHOSEN to let it be up to someone else.

Treva, he has a lot of non-traditional ideas, and he plans on introducing them sowly into a church, the most important ones first, meaning not the Christmas tree first.

Cate said...

I find this answer interesting: "Almost everything else in Christmas is social and family obligations, parties and gift exchanges. Taking ourselves out of these obligations would do damage to those relationships and we won't do that."

Aren't there other social norms that you forgo because they're not biblical? Does it matter if you're condoning someone else's use of a Christmas tree by attending their holiday party, or does it only matter that you don't have one in your own home?

Tara Maureen said...

Emily, you've choosen to be a doormat. Good luck with that when it escelates to phyiscal abuse becuase it will.

Anonymous said...

This is sad that you and your kids are having to give up the sweet, innocent pleasure of a Christmas tree. In my opinion, your husband's reasoning sounds strange and irrational - but again, just my opinion. I really can't imagine that God gives a hoot whether or not you have a Christmas tree - I think He's concerned with bigger things.

Anonymous said...

Hm I see it along the lines of your husband trying out your diet experiments. Nothing he would choose to do, but his wife, who he trusts, thinks it's a good idea so he's going along for now. Your husband sounds like the type of man to "ok" a tree if you really wanted it.

I gave the tree and and all the trimmings to my ex in the divorce. I admit I miss the beauty - a sparkly white tree with multi-colored lights and decorations we picked out together. So much stress though! Didn't decorate last year and probably won't this year. This year more so because I'm moving in February. Hoping next year to be active enough to bring out the little 3-footer fiber optic tree my mother gave me when I first moved. -Cris

Kathryn said...

Your husband is aware that not all the books written by ancient prophets are included in the NIV, KJ or any bible as they were translated and cherry-picked by men and as we all know men are not infallible. I am a christian and have the KJ version but it is just as likely that there is a verse speaking of the virtues of traditions such as these.
Jesus was not born on December 25th that is when we, as a christian whole, choose to celebrate.
Would he claim the same think about decorating for Easter? As long as you keep the true meaning of the season at the forefront I cannot imagine why your husband would take something away from the entire family. And I just flat do not understand the no wreath. That is REALLY taking things out of context and WAY too far. Honestly Emily the word zealot (not in the good connotation) comes to mind and I think if he were to introduce these ideas to a congregation he would lose many parishioners.

Now I must say that I love the ideas you have on your blog and look forward to reading your posts!

Emily said...

TaraMaureen, I think it is so sad that you have such a low view of men that you think if they are given the power to make decisions in a family they will become wife-beaters.

Kathryn, the verses my husband is looking at are about a tree, and a wreath is from a tree. If you know of verses speaking of the virtues of a Christmas tree, by all means, let me know and I'll pass them on. We don't decorate for Easter, and as I said before, he would introduce new ideas into a church slowly. I'm glad you still like the blog, though. (:

Anonymous said...

Jeremiah 10 is discussing idols made from wood, not Christmas trees. There were no Christmas trees in biblical times. Did you worship your tree and forsake god in previous years? You should probably forgo decorations of all sorts to keep in line with that thinking. I agree with the person who said your husband sounded like a zealot. He will have a hard time finding and keeping a flock with his obscure and inaccurate translations of the bible. Also, in keeping with the context of Deuteronomy 12, when you go to visit family this holiday season, will you be destroying their Christmas decorations?

Nicole said...

First time poster, Christian, submissive wife, and friend of an emotionally abused submissive, Christian wife. I have done a lot of reading about emotional abuse as I have attempted to help my friend. This is not emotional abuse. Emily, I applaud you for maintaining a biblical structure in your marriage, even under "web-fire." Submission when you disagree is never easy, but it is the best way to let a man lead a family, and often they will come around to your way of thinking if given time. All of the nagging in the world will never work.

I do, however, find it interesting that you do not have a problem with halloween, yet your husband feels this is a place to take a stand. Not wrong/right, just interesting. My family still has not decided what we will do with the October holiday, and we do have a Christmas tree.

Zella said...

This is why I refuse to participate in Christianity. Seriously? It's not about whose words or version you follow, it's about not being a jerk to the rest of humanity.

Jeanie said...

Normally I hate slippery slope arguments, but from what I've observed with my DH's family, this is such a slippery slope!

My DH's family are/were (depending on which ones you're talking about) fundementalist and/or conservative christians.
for them It started with no Christmas tree (for the same reasons you mentioned) and then ended up with no Christmas at all.
This created emotional baggage that my DH and his siblings are still working through.
It's one thing if a family from the beginning chooses not to celebrate Xmas, but to have it and then take it away, that's pretty tramatic for a kid.
In my DH's family (everyone celebrates Xmas again now, and only one sibling is still "anti-tree"--ironically not the most conservative/fundementalist one) there's always a sort of sadness around the holidays all of the adult children have bitterness towards the fact that Christmas was taken from them when they were kids--even the ones that were just tots when it happens. When I met my husband he was actually a real Scrooge, didn't want anything to do with Christmas because it reminded him of what happened when he was a kid.
I can think of at least one of his siblings that's Obsessed with getting as mant presents as he can as an adult and gets ridiculously materialistic around this time of year because he feels like it "makes up" for what he missed out on.

You and your husband seem like smart thoughtful people and it scares me to think that you might be pulled into extremism. Please be careful.

If I may, a bible quote that I think fits quite well with the theme of frugality as well:
"Let your moderation be known unto all men".

Hopefully I'm wrong, and the same thing won't happen to you guys, but I've seem so much pain come from extreme fundementalism in my DHs family. And I like you, and I worry about you.

Sorry if this is out of line though.

Captain Cleavage said...

I just wanted to say one more thing...
My husband and I are christian. we have a tree. it's important to us. Is it a symbol of our faith? No. for us it is a symbol of our family tradition. For me decorating the tree is a reminder of the times when I was younger and my grandmother would decorate the tree with me. when I was older and got married She gave me a box of ornaments which we had made together over the years. i still use them and even though she passed away 5 years ago when ever I decorate the tree it is a reminder of her.

as far as "Well seeing as the Christians ripped off Christmas from the Pagans......I think it is good that you don't have a tree. Save the trees and Yule logs for Wiccans like me that understand their meaning." This makes me sad.

Half of my family is pagan and wiccan and never once have I ever heard that because they are they deserve a tree. Are you saying that no one should be allowed a christmas tree unless they are pagan? That is a line of thinkiong i do not understand...as Mr. spock would say...that is illogical.

vm said...

This post of yours is so sad. You have such lovely ideas for a tree. You and I are very different women, that's what I'm taking away from this entry. That, and I'm a little sad for you right now!

Anonymous said...

Emily....

I can't imagine my husband not agreeing to a Xmas treeing knowing full well how much I might enjoy it. It's one thing to be submissive, quite another to let something that brings you joy be taken from your life, because your husband says "no" to a tree.

Personally, I haven't put up a tree in years because I don't want to deal with the expense and trouble of it all, and because the tree doesn't make the Christmas. Still, I'd like to be able to choose what I want or don't want.

Emily, what you contribute to your marriage is as important as the contributions of your husband, thus you should have equal rights in choosing what is best for your family. Just because a man has a penis it doesn't make him wiser, smarter or the knower of all things big and small. He is simply a man, not God.

I think when a woman submits to a man she begins to lose a part of who she is and what she is about. In marriage we all learn to pick our fights and somebody has to step back SOMETIMES, but to defer your wishes for something as simple as wanting or enjoying a Christmas tree is just silly to me.

I'll never understand why you defer to his wishes instead of him defering to yours, nor would that ever happen in my household. Trust me, I love my husband very much but he isn't smarter, wiser, kinder, or funnier because he has a penis.

Anonymous said...

Look, sounds to me like she asked HIM his preference and decided to go with that, and that it's not that big a deal either way. Now, I myself think trees are fine, and I think her husband is trying to figure out how to best follow God and in the process may make some mistakes. Again, this is really not that big a deal-and the Bible talks about how we are to handle "disputable matters." What counts here is his desire to honor God. Some honor God by celebrating Christmas with a tree, some honor Him by celebrating without, some honor him by skipping the day altogether. All that matters in cases like these is the desire to honor God. Obviously this is just for, again, "disputable" matters.

Stephanie said...

Emily said-

"I think it is so sad that you have such a low view of men that you think if they are given the power to make decisions in a family they will become wife-beaters."

Emily, think of it this way. Some of us are older and wiser and have seen much, much more of life than you have. Some of us have been through abusive, controlling relationships where we blindly followed our husbands and gave up our control to a man whom we trusted and let make the decisions. Some of us had to get out of those relationships because this man was putting us and our very young children in danger. And I'm quite sure that none of us expected our lives to turn out the way they did. Controlling, abusive men don't start out being controlling and abusive. They start out loving. They start out caring. They start out promising us the world, and we believe them.

None of us want to see you go down that path.

We're not saying your husband is controlling or abusive, we're not saying he definitely will become controlling or abusive. We're saying that giving up all of your say in a relationship is dangerous.

I understand you want to submit, but don't lose your sense of SELF. It takes two people to make a marriage, and your desires and opinions are just as valid as your husband's. Whatever you do, don't let yourself be lead down a path that will end up in your unhappiness. That's all we're saying.

Anonymous said...

Emily,

The way you speak of yourself leads people to believe you are in your 40s. You still are a young wife.

You are both in your early twenties. You have a lot to learn about life, religion, and marriage. If your husband thinks he has discovered some fact about Christmas trees in the bible he is mistaken. It is embarassing to think of him presenting this idea to a church in a potential leadership position. Please do yourselves a favor and ignore your brother's foolishness.

Tara Maureen said...

Emily, I in no way feel that when men have the "upper hand" in the household that they will automatically become wife beaters. However, when anyone is given complete control of a family where even the simplest wishes of the others in said family are ignored THAT is emotional abuse THAT can lead to physical abuse. I am a submissive Christian woman. In my home ultimately my husband has the final say. However, that does NOT give him the right to trample over me, nor does that mean I have no right to speak my voice when he's wrong or when I have a strong opinion on the subject. However, I cannot imagine being with a man who had a blatant disregard for my feelings in the first place.

Scottish Twins said...

I've had debates about beinga submissive wife many times and until people can understand the difference between the Biblical definition of submission and the worldly one, it's a pointless debate.

It's sort of like having a debate about abortion - if both sides don't share the same definition of when life begins, what is the point in arguing about it. You just end up talking in circles around each other.

Biblical submission is different than the common definition of submission. While submission in our society tends to be negative, submission to your husband in the Biblical sense is done out of love. Wives submit to their husbands out of love and their husbands in turn love them "as Christ loves the church" and always take their wives feelings into consideration when making decisions. That doesn't mean that there won't be times when a woman isn't going to get her way. It just means that her POV is always considered.

In every relationship there has to be a leader. Without one you can start having power struggles and confusion.

This doesn't mean that some women aren't taken advantage of and treated like doormats by some men when they submit - but I have a feeling those marriages are based on Biblical submission. If they were, the husband would be loving his wife, not trying to control her.

Emily, don't let these people get under your skin. While I don't agree with you about the tree issue and think your husband needs to do a little more praying about it, I'm not one to judge your choices. But I always find it funny when people get on their submissive wives soapboxes and start bringing up people in their lives they know that were abused in similar relationships. Because if they are comparing an abusive relationship to one based on Biblical submission, they have no clue what they are talking about.

ThreeBeans said...

Scottish Twins, almost all abusive relationships I've seen have been disguised as 'Biblical submission'.

ThreeBeans said...

You know, mostly I roll my eyes when I see what you have to say. I'm horrified by the 'food' you feed your children and am concerned that they are malnourished. No fresh fruits, no fresh veggies.

But for the first time, today, I'm just sad and worried for you now.

Anonymous said...

I think the person who said that Emily acts like she's 40, but is in fact, a very young woman in a very young marriage. A few more years of doing laundry by hand with what will likely be six kids, instead of three, and she just might change her thinking a bit. She's young and idealistic.

And I'd have to agree that if Dan thinks he's found some revelation about Xmas trees, he do well to keep that info to himself. Xmas trees are tradition - a tradition that has been around for many many moons. Christmas trees are more a family than anything else - decorating a tree is hopefully a good memory for growing children to pass on to their children. I'm sorry your husband is selfishly going to ignore that lovely tradition in your family -- and even sorrier that you're going to allow it.

Catherine said...

I don't see the big deal about "submitting" to no tree. There are ever so many ways to enjoy Christmas. Many of them are as pagan as the tree, however, if you look into the roots of the customs.

My question is how your husband is going to deal with the tree issue if and when he is given a parish. No tree at the church? We have a giving tree, a tree trim, so much around the tree this season. I don't see a minister who is anti tree lasting long here. As difficult as it is these days to get a parsonage, putting that obstacle on ones resume can be a dealbreaker.

Emily said...

I have never disguised my youth or pretended I was older than I am. My youth has nothing to do with God's word, which is true and which I will follow, no matter how young or old I am. God's word is crystal clear on submission and I will obey it. You can call this idealistic or naive, but it will not change my actions. I think that God is smarter than all of my readers, and I'm sticking by his thoughts.

Catherine, he has a lot of non-traditional ideas, and he plans on introducing them SLOWLY into a church, the most important ones first, meaning not the Christmas tree first.

Anonymous said...

Emily,

As much as you claim to be okay with submitting to your husband on this, I think deep down you know something is not right here. Otherwise, you would not have posted this long, wistful post, complete with photos, detailing how you would have decorated your tree. Take care and I hope things turn out okay for you and your kids.

Emily said...

Anon, I posted this because I think I have good ideas for tree decorating that I wanted to share even though I wasn't doing it this year.

Kathryn said...

I don't think that it matters how SLOWLY he introduces them Emily. If you and/or he think that a congregation will follow ideas that he has interpreted as HIS will then you are both dead wrong. Sure he will get some who have no will and need someone to make up their mind for them but most people will say no way. I would.
My husband is the head of this family and in important matters he does have the final say but in small matters like...I don't know...a Christmas tree he would not force me to give up something I love when it has no real bearing on Christmas. Jesus was not born in December so maybe your family should just stop celebrating in that month altogether.
We have four sons and have been married 13+ years and I think many women here are correct in saying that others have experienced more and seen more than you. I think what you do is amazing. You obviously care and love your family more than words can say. Supporting your husband to go back to school and doing it with such a great attitude it a wonderful thing. I applaud you.
I hope that you can differentiate between being submissive and being a doormat because submitting to something as small as a tree is setting the bar very low for what you will give up.
Unless you and your kids have previously been worshipping the tree and bring it idols or waiting for it to give you commandments your husband is cherry-picking. Do you keep kosher? If HE is the alpha and the omega you should. Do you sleep in a different room or house when you get your period? The bible states you are unclean. You cannot take the parts that appeal and leave the rest behind if you are going to be that zealous.

Anita said...

Nothing wrong with not having a christmas tree. Christmas is about Jesus, not a tree. Nothing wrong with submitting to your husband, someone has to have the final word, so why can hubby do it? After loving someone deeply isn't about control it's about protecting and if my hubby wants to protect from things he feels are wrong, the praise God my husband loves me enough to do so.

Amber said...

Terra, submitting to your husband does not necessarily lead to physical abuse and you obviously do not understand that choice if you think it will.

Snork Maiden said...

I think it would be better if you and your husband agreed on what the tree should symbolize to you and your children, as opposed to taking it away. Christmas trees are everywhere, and better you take your children to church on Christmas than worry about interpreting verses that may or may not have anything to do with a tree. I also think that if one was to pick Bible verses and follow them or their interpretations literally, one should do all of them, and not pick the more convenient ones, the ones that are more appealing and make the biggest statement to those around you. A tree does not a pagan make.
What are your husband's other non traditional ideas?

Lyndsae said...

Dear Emily,

If you truly believe that you're a "submit to my husband even when I disagree" sort of woman, you should be ashamed of yourself for even writing and publishing this post. You should submit meekly without questioning his authority. By questioning his reasoning and posting here and asking for arguments to use against him, you're being disobedient and disrespectful.

Unless you don't really believe in complete submission to your husband. Maybe you think you also have the capacity for reasoning and logical decision-making? If that's the case, it's time to stand up for yourself and your beliefs. You can't have it both ways.

Anonymous said...

Do you really honestly think god cares if you put up a tree? Really? Don't you think he would have more important things to tend to? You must be very special so that some great being thinks you are so wonderful that he would waste his time condeming you to hell because of a tree in your living room. Maybe you could send god a Gospel For Asia link, then he could do something productive with his time.

Emily said...

Lyndsae, my husband knew about this post and everything in it before I published it, so there is no hint of disobedience there. I wrote this to share my ideas about the Christmas tree I usually set up. I never asked for arguements against him.

Anonymous said...

Emily,
I have read and posted a couple of times. I would not have posted today, but after reading the comments, I felt that I needed to.

First of all, I enjoy reading your blog. You have interesting ideas. I can't say that I will use them all because I am not so completely into the simple way of life. I think there is a balance, and since I work full time and have a husband and three kids, I'd be insane if I did not use *some* modern conveniences (a washing machine). I am totally not judging you; in fact, I admire you! I just can't at this point in my life do all that you do. Kudos to you!

Secondly, I am also a Christian wife who believes in submitting to my husband. I am a bit mouthy at times, so he does quite often hear my opinion, but in the end, I'll submit and support him. Ultimately, he will answer to God for how he treats us, which is in NO way abuse!

Thirdly, who cares about the tree? I don't understand why people are flaming you for 1)submitting to your husband (really, is it any of their business?) and 2)not having a Christmas tree because it's tradition. Tradition? Really? If it isn't hurting you to forgo the tree, then it really doesn't matter. I do not think that God *cares* one way or another about a tree, but I DO think that he does care about every aspect of our lives no matter how big or small. What I mean is that is if this is important to you, then it is important to God. His word says that even the hairs on our heads are numbered! How awesome is that?!

All of that to say, Emily, that you are being obedient to God by submitting to your husbands views (which I do not share, but can understand). I do not think that you were sending out any cries for help because you are being abused. What I do KNOW is that those who stand up for Christ will suffer for His sake. That's a promise, and you are doing well to stand there in front of the firing squad.

Sabrina

Anonymous said...

I think that you (and your husband) should read some things about the history of the Christmas tree that aren't written by people with a bias against them. There is a lot of folklore, of course, but what does seem to be clear is that they became customary in Germany in the 16th century. So it isn't like there is a historical relationship between the 'cut down a tree and make an idol' practices of Jerimiah's day and the modern Christmas tree.
What is pretty clear is that the 16th century Germans who started cutting down whole trees and putting them in their houses thought of the evergreen tree as a Christian symbol-one that symbolized the eternal nature of God, and (according to some sources) the story of how St. Boniface converted the pagans or to Adam and Eve's innocence in the Garden of Eden.
More to the point, Christmas trees seem to be a harmless, fun, cultural practice. Is it (strictly speaking) Biblical. Well no, but neither is celebrating Christmas on December 25th by having a big dinner with your family.
Its true that some Christians have a problem with this, and indeed with doing anything fun at Christmas, or indeed at any other time. I really think that this is very wrongheaded, and that there is nothing wrong with having fun on Christmas. Its pretty easy to come up with Christmas tree decorations that make the tree into a reminder of Christ, and not a distraction from Him.

Blessed said...

Emily, once again you get major kudos for posting with honesty and bravery--and for including the negative comments in the dialogue.

Yes, you are young and idealistic. Enjoy it, and may God draw you and Dan ever closer to Him while you grow closer to one another in maturity and wisdom. Both of you are purposeful in your choices, actively thinking about what you do and why--I wonder if the negative posters have taken the same amount of effort to consider why they make the choices they do. Or why Emily's choices leave them feeling "sad." A healthy Self should be growing, challenging convention, thinking "outside the box," not afraid to try something new, not threatened by the possibility of making mistakes every now and then--so should a good marriage.

Marguerite said...

I'm sorry your not getting a tree this year. I don't know if your interested ,but one year when my father decided we weren't getting a tree .... my mom and I used lights on the wall in the shape of a tree! we used thumb tacs to decorate with paper garland and presents went on the floor under our "tree" :) Just an idea....

Rachel said...

Emily, My father in law did not believe in Christmas, he decided this after the three oldest kids were grown. Personally, I always felt that he was just too cheap to give gifts, but he has gone to be with the Lord now, and that is between them now. My mother-in-law, although she celebrated Christmas, she did not give gifts either (they were divorced). the other day I found a Christmas card from her. She had written insided the card that she picked it out especially for me because she thought I would like it. I will now treasure this card, because this is one thing that shows that she did have the ability to give and think of others.

Someone at church told me last year that his son had four Christmas trees in his room. My mom told me that her boyfriends daughter had 7 Christmas trees in her house last year. If you are taking the time and putting in the effort to do this, are you spending that same amount of time in Bible study, prayer and worship? I had some issues with 1 Timothy 2:9-11. These verses instruct women to be modest in their clothing, and the wearing of jewelry. I prayed over this, do I dress up for church, do I wear a necklace or earrings? Finally God revealed to me that the wearing of these items is not the wrong thing, the wrong thing is the time I spend on making this happen. Do I spend long hours shopping for clothes and jewelry? Do I spend more time getting ready for church than I do in Bible study and prayer each day. I have minimum clothing, although, at least to me, they are pretty oufits, and I have minimum jewelry. I am ready for church in 30 minutes, from stepping in the shower to walking out the door.

For me it is doing no more than is spent in worship. I decided a few years ago to only have a tree, a wreath on the door, and a nativity displayed. It is so freeing! I took everything else to Goodwill. I feel that I am in God's will on this. Being in God's will is different for different people. A couple at our church have nine children. We never felt that that was God's will for us, but to judge them is wrong.

I think some people do get carried away with the statement, we won't have a tree, we won't give our kids Easter baskets, but have they really asked God for His direction? Maybe, maybe not. My only comment to you you and Dan is that you pray over every decision, and listen when He speaks.

Anonymous said...

This is a great read on the Christmas tree and it speaks to the verses your husband has used to make his interpretation:

http://www.orlutheran.com/html/jer10.html

I want to know if your husband has discussed this with any of his professors at school. What are their thoughts? Which version of the Bible (may I ask) does he follow?

Jenn

Clisby said...

Now, I'm an atheist, so anybody religious can take this with a huge grain of salt. But if I were to give up something at Christmas, it would be the gift-giving, not the tree. We'd decorate a tree, have a big family dinner, and enjoy each other. In my family, except for the kids, we've pretty much done this anyway. The adults in the family (I'm one of 6 children, and most of the younger generation is grown - my 13-year-old and 7-year-old are among the youngest) don't give each other presents. My husband and I don't give each other presents. We give presents to our kids, and send out Christmas cards - that's it. We all love the tree.

Emily said...

Jenn, I would generally agree with the interpretation of Jeremiah 10 in the link you provided. I want to do a word study on some of the words in Jeremiah 10:3 to be sure. I do not believe my husband has talked to any of his professors about it in depth, although I believe some know. In our opinion, KJV is the most accurate translation and we prefer it. We also appreciate the accuracy of the NASB and CEV.

Clisby, I agree. We give to a lot of people and many are out of obligation. I would like gift-giving in general to be a more organic outpouring of our love for others instead of a scheduled day for gift exchange.

Rebekah said...

Emily, I have to ask why you think the KJV is most accurate? IMO, that is a common misconception; due to the antiquated language, modern readers tend to view it as a more trustworthy source, but that's simply not the case. It was compiled in 1611 under the direction of King James (obviously...LOL!), and there was much political motivation behind the undertaking. It was created using translations, sources, and understandings of the era; more modern translations that have reviewed older source documents in the original language are generally accepted as more accurate.

It is a beautiful piece of literature that I enjoy reading, and it is important to our faith-history, but when I sit down to study the Bible, I use a copy of the New Revised Standard Version (with the Apocrypha). I know that some disagree with the gender-neutral language, but it clarifies meaning to me, so I don't mind. This translation/revision used the Dead Sea Scrolls and other more recently-found manuscripts that date back farther than those used for the KJV.

Anyways, I'm sure you understand this because you cite the NASB and CEV as well, but the KJV just doesn't seem like an obvious choice if one is seeking accuracy.

Emily said...

Rebekah, we go to the KJV for accuracy because it is the most accurate in our opinion. Each translation is just a translation and each has parts that could be translated better. Both Dan and I study the original languages as novices, but we are learning. As we study, we see the KJV translating the tough passages with better words than newer translations. This may have to do with the language. KJV is written at a 12th grade reading level, which is a lot to expect out of many people, so most modern translations are written at an 8th grade reading level or below. This has an effect of dumbing down some of the harder parts of God's word, which we are not fond of.

The dating of the manuscripts makes little difference to us, as the word of God hasn't changed. As far as attacking the actual translators or means by which it was written, it is irrelevant, as Bibles are now an industry monopolized by Zondervan. One could doubt the purity in modern translations as well. What matters is how each word is translated, and that is why we like the KJV the best. It is what I use most, but Dan uses others frequently for his studies. We like the NRSV and can see past the gender neutral aspect. It is very silimar to the CEV in accuracy, but I wouldn't put it in my favs because of the gender neutral aspect.

Rebekah said...

Thanks for answering my question, although I don't think you really understand what I meant! The newer translations have used more source documents along with a deeper historical understanding of their linguistics, and have therefore come closer to what the original recorded texts would have said. The writers of the KJV were instructed to align the text with Anglican teachings, and were working with fewer Greek and Hebrew manuscripts by which to compare their works.

Obviously the word of God has not changed, but rather time and archaeology have given us more data in compiling a truer Bible. By your acceptance of the KJV as most accurate, despite advances in understanding and translation since then, you may as well claim that the various errors that have been printed in the modern era should be taken as gospel as well! Ridiculous, yes, but if we accept some errors, why not others? (Read the Wikipedia article on Bible errata if you have not heard of this...it is quite interesting!)

You definitely demonstrate my point about why readers tend to classify the KJV as superior--you assume that because the words are more difficult and have existed in English for longer, they are truer. I study Spanish; if I were to sit down with several editions of Don Quixote and compare the various translations I would choose the one that best represented Cervantes' work, not that which used the most flowery language or was written longest ago.

You say that you see the KJV using "better" words than the newer translations with which other Bible scholars agree; perhaps you will one day study Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic formally and provide the world with a new translation! At first I started to type that in jest, but perhaps it is a goal to which you and your husband might strive...

I wish your family a Merry Christmas, and all the best on your faith journey.

Emily said...

Rebekah, fist, I meant ESV, not CEV. Oops!

The idea of a "truer Bible" is a slippery slope. Then you are saying that for hundreds and hundreds of years Christians did not have an accurate Bible. That kind of text criticism will only pull you away from trusting God's word.

It is not because the language is more difficult. It is because the language is more accurate. The modern English language is a dumbed down language, not dynamic like old English and Greek and Hebrew.

Every translation has errors, the KJV has the least. I encourage you to study the original languages to compare versions yourself. I came to the concusion KJV was more accurate by studying various versions and comparing them to the original languages.

We as God's people do not need a better translation. We have many excellent translations. What we need is to be devoted to knowing God's word. A the best on your journey as well.

amulbunny said...

Emily you said:
Kat, that maybe true. I know that Christmas is Catholic more than protestant, but we've adopted it (and enjoyed it).

Um, I am a Lutheran and we consider ourselves Protestant and Christmas and Easter are our biggest celebrations. We celebrate the Advent of our Lord and His birth as well as his Resurrection. To call us anything other than Christians who believe in the Risen Lord is not fair. Had it not been for Luther advocating that the Bible should be in the language of the common man, Christianity would still be out of reach.

We celebrate with a tree decorated with mementos from our past and the kids lives. Our nativity reminds us of the human birth of our Lord and we use the lights as lights unto the world.

As far as Bibles, I have used the Jerusalem Bible in my graduate classes as well as the New Oxford Annotated New Revised Standard Edition. I have about 6 Bibles in my house and they all tell the same story, that of a loving and powerful Lord who is my Savior.

Emily said...

alumbunny, I did not say that Lutherans or protestants were not Christians. I grew up in a semi-Lutheran home (Missouri synod) and still share many beliefs with Lutherans, and I am a HUGE Luther fan.

Kat said...

I guess I'm just confused. What does Luther starting the Christmas Tree Tradition have to do with Christmas being more Catholic than Protestant?

And why do you think that it is? In general, Christmas is a Christian holiday, as Christian includes Catholic, Protestant, Orthadox, etc.. I don't understand why it would be one more than the other. Thanks in advance for clarification.
My family includes Catholic and Protestnat Christians, and the Catholics have never appeared more festive than the protestants to me.

Emily said...

Kat, if you look at the origins of Christmas, it is a pagan holiday that the Catholic church kind of adopted to get people into church. It didn't originate with Protestants, but with Catholics. That's all I meant by it being more Catholic than Protestant.

Kat said...

Ah I see. Although, everything that Protestants and Catholics share originated with Catholics, since Catholicism pre-dates protestantism (though not modern Christmas trees--which as we've discussed were first introduced by Martin Luther and adopted by Catholic countries later) .

Using that logic you would have to say that the divinity of Christ, The Virgin Birth, The entire New Testement/four canonical gospels, The Sunday Sabbath,the sacrements shared by Catholics and Protestants, much of the litergy (how much and what depending on what type of protestnat someone is), Christian education, and about a million other things I'm sure I'm forgeting aare more Catholic than protestant, which, for the most part seems sort of unfair to protestants.

If something is shared by the two sects, I usually just say it's "Christian" and leave it at that.

Emily said...

Kat, no, some things originate from a certain sect, and some directy from God. Both Christmas, the Christmas tree, and the Sunday Sabbath are from sects of Christianity. The divinity of Christ, virgin birth, New Testament and gospels are from God. They can be categorized as one or another. But if you want to categorize it as "Christian" and leave it at that, that is fine by me. That just may not be how I choose to categorize it.

Anonymous said...

Emily,
That's fine that you believe that (I don't, but I'm not Christian either), but even if you believe those things did come from God, the doctrines still originated within the Catholic tradition, during Catholic councils and where later accepted by protestants. Not to mention that not all (I would venture to say most actually) Christians believe that the bible "comes directly from God".
You can believe that, but in the end, it's just your belief. The fact that those beliefs stem from Cathololicism (whether from god directly or not), is historical fact, and in that regard makes them no different than anything else that comes from Christianity.

Emily said...

Anon, the scriptures predate the Catholic church. The Counssil of Nicea, where the Bible was canonized, predates the Catholic church. It is not historical fact that those doctrines come from the Catholic church at all. They come from the scriptures, which are way older than the Catholic church.

Laura said...

Last year, we were too poor to buy a Christmas tree. We hung a $1 strand of lights around our coat rack and laughed and put presents under it. I HATED not having a Christmas tree, but I LOVE the memory. My husband is also a student, and we live on almost nothing. Any time I can't do something I want to do or feel down because I really wanted something, I try to get silly like that. It makes me feel better, and in ten years, when we are both out of school, it will provide a lot of laughs.

Anonymous said...

So let me get this right... star trek-YES, Christmas Tree-NO

Anonymous said...

WOW! This post, most of your posts prior to this, and your whole blog....scares me! I think it's gone so far beyond zealot...that I don't think there's a word for it. Your posts are a mass of contradictions. I truly believe we will be seeing you and your husband and your 20 kids opening a Branch Davidian one day. God help us all!

And yes, from just reading another one of your posts, I suggest keeping your kids homeschooled and not anywhere near my children! I wouldn't even know how to explain half of what your children might tell mine and really hope I never have to. I'm all for different beliefs, but yours (and your husband's) are scary. That's really the only word I can come up with to sufficiently say what I'm thinking.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Emily,

Your husband is correct. I am so glad you have a Godly man as head of your household. It is about time he turned you towards the light honey.

"Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands, of the workman with the axe. The deck it with silver and gold; they fasten it with nails and hammers, that it move not." (Jeremiah 10:2-4)

This is clearly the LORD GOD telling us not to fall into the pagan celebration. I pray that your husband sees the light about the stockings and gifts too. They glorify God not!

Blessings to your Godly family!

Post a Comment