How do you reconcile an age old tradition that rubs up against God's Truth? At this moment a tree sits in my basement that is all decked out in the silvers and whites of the season, but due to my own aversion it lies in darkness without so much as one twinkling light. I can hardly bring myself to look at it let alone turn it on.
That's not to say that there isn't a small part of me that wants to. In light of what I've learned it is quite silly to think that I'm having a hard time not turning on those lights - if only for a moment. While growing up, the Christmas tree lights always favored my attention, it would bring me such serenity no matter what in life was going on. It held treasures of the past and provided cover to the obligatory nativity spread out beneath it. It was one of the few places that as a child, I could forget everything else and enjoy peace. Those feelings lasted long into my adult years.
But things are different now, God has brought me to a new place. For the past couple years I have been immersed in His teaching about the queen of heaven, who is a high ordered demonic power. This is definitely not something I sought out, I can certainly think of much nicer things to learn about. It has been hard but very enlightening. The queen of heaven has many names, one of which is Asherah. If you use the King James Version Bible, you won't find this name, but it's there - hidden.
Asherah is considered Baal's wife and her idols can take on many forms including pillars, carved poles, and trees (KJV uses "groves"). Against the command of God, Asherah held a place of high honor in His temple during the reign of many Judean kings. Archaeological inscriptions have been found that say "God and His Asherah", but there was one king who knew better.
King Josiah was a young boy who not only removed the Asherah idols from God's temple and burned them, but toppled 300 year old Asherim that were put in a high place of honor just outside of Jerusalem by King Solomon. Why did Josiah do all this? Because he made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep His commandments and His testimonies and His statutes with all his heart and all his soul, to carry out the words of this covenant that were written in God's Word. It broke his heart when he learned of God while his country was immersed in evil. He didn't leave any room for the ignorance that destroyed the kings before him.
This Christmas season, I have often thought, what if King Josiah walked our streets, sat in our churches, or came into our homes at Christmas time? What would he think of all our highly honored trees? Would he understand when we tell him they are just for decoration? Could we keep his tears at bay by explaining that it's only a tradition?
I want to be like King Josiah, as a child in my understanding and obedience to God. In Jesus alone do I to find serenity and peace. Only Jesus alone is to be put in a high place of honor in my life. I may not worship this tree in my house, but to King Josiah it would appear to be an idol. Something that can be mistaken for an idol has no place in my life.
(2 Kings 23:1-28)