During the 17th century, believers in Christ wanted to do away with the pagan observation of the winter solstice which was observed around December 22. This is why they chose December 25 to celebrate the birth of Jesus. In the beginning, there was a mixing of the religious with the secular and many traditions associated with the winter holiday were utilized by Christians. Over the years, however, some have sought to reappropriate the symbolism and give totally Christian meanings to what was initiated by the secular world. In many circles, the early history is not known and the Christmas tree is considered as an image of faith only.

A report by website Why Christmas provided most of the facts used in this article.

The origin of placing a live tree in a home

In 1949, Peggy Lee recorded a song called "Similau," where she sings about the spirit in the wood. According to African folklore, knocking on wood was considered to awaken spirits who would grant good fortune. In pagan times, it was believed that bringing a tree into the house during cold weather would warm the spirits that lived within. People would attempt to appease these sprites by leaving food and treats on the branches.

Bells were hung on the tree limbs that were expected to ring as a sign that a spirit was pleased with what had been laid out for it. A five-point star or pentagram was placed at the top of the tree to symbolize the five elements of earth, wood, fire, water, and metal.

This indicates that the entire premise of decorating trees predated Christmas.

Christians try to reappropriate the pagan symbols

In the beginning, Christians simply joined in with the pagan celebrations after going to church and celebrating Christmas.

Eventually, in an attempt to reappropriate the symbols, they were given meanings that were related to the birth of Christ. As time went along, many people assumed that everything related to cutting down a tree, placing it in the home, and decorating it was a way of honoring the birth of Jesus.

Today for believers, an evergreen tree represents Christ's resurrection and eternal life, along with the fact that the Bible refers to Jesus as the tree of life.

The bright lights that are strung upon the branches celebrate that the baby in the manger became the light of the world who shines in the darkness. The star at the top of the Christmas tree reminds the faithful that a star led the shepherds to Bethlehem. Gifts are given to loved ones to acknowledge the gift of Christ to all mankind.

Some Christians believe that the pagan origins of Christmas indicate that it should not be observed, especially since the Bible does not say Jesus was born on December 25. Others say that they have removed the stigma of what the symbolism originally stood for and are using them to glorify the Lord.