Does Jeremiah Describe a Christmas Tree in Jeremiah 10:2-5?
Although these scriptures picture the carved idols of Jeremiah's time, they are also an accurate description of the Christmas tree we are familiar with today. The practice Jeremiah wrote about was a custom (verse 3) and was associated with "the signs of heaven" (verse 2)—just as Christmas today is a custom and is associated with the winter solstice. People today do not normally associate Christmas with the winter solstice, but that does not change its pagan origin.
Even though these scriptures no doubt had an application to the customs practiced some 2500 years ago, we must keep in mind that the book of Jeremiah is primarily prophecy. Just as with other prophecies, this was written for our time, to our people, and referring to the common customs of the modern world! For instance, Jeremiah also accurately describes such things as hot-cross buns for Easter (Jeremiah 7:18), and Ezekiel sees a vision of worship very much like sunrise services (Ezekiel 8:16)!
We should especially note that cutting down and setting up a tree is termed "the way of the Gentiles [heathen, KJV]." We are commanded not to learn or follow that way (verse 2). This whole passage clearly tells us that using a tree in this manner is idolatry. The basic commandment against idolatry, of course, is found in Exodus 20:4-6. If we try to honor God through any sort of idol or icon, we are guilty of breaking this commandment.