The Catholic tradition of decorated trees did not come from Christianity as laid out in scriptures but from Norse mythology similar to the eggs and bunny of Easter.
The world tree is an enormous ash that grew in the middle of the world and was sacred to Odin the chief God in Norse paganism. The mythical embodiment of the universe, its survival was necessary for the survival of the Aesir world or the Norse Pantheon. Three Norns (trinity!) lived at the foot of this tree who decided the fate of every human being, they were all knowing.
The Christmas tree descends from the world tree, and many of its traditional decorations were adapted from Norse mythology. Candles, and in the age of electricity, Christmas lights symbolizes Thor’s flashing lightnings. Garlands and ribbons are symbols for the rainbow bridge to Asgard. At the top instead of the pagan eagle, the Christmas angel keeps watch; and at the bottom, the Christ child in his crib replaces the Norns as the Christian ‘s arbiter of human destiny. The pagan eagle at the top of the tree fanned the air with his wings which causes winds to blow.
Some writers think the Christmas tree was adopted by Catholics of German descent such as Martin Luther. Legends say that Luther on his way home from a midnight mass saw light reflecting from icicles on a small evergreen tree. He cut down the tree brought it home and decorated it with candles, ribbons and sweets. In the morning, he read religious stories under it. The Christmas tree was first mentioned in 1605 at Strasburg and introduced to France and Englad in 1840.
Even the Catholic Pope John Paul II found it necessary to explain the Catholics’ use of the pagan symbol. Quite supprisingly, his explanation bore a striking similarity to the pagan symbolism. He said the Christmas tree is a symbol of “the tree of life, a figure of Christ, God’s greatest gift to all men.”
Tree worship is not unique to Norse mythology nor Catholic tradition, and is one of the oldest form of animism and paganism. It was among the most common form of idolatrous veneration in Ancient Assyria and is a true form of Tree Worship. It would not be hard to believe that this was the same Asherah poles or Grove mentioned frequently in the Bible.
“Be very careful never to make a treaty with the people who live in the land where you are going.
If you do, you will follow their evil ways and be trapped.
Instead, you must break down their pagan altars, smash their sacred pillars, and cut down their Asherah poles”
D’Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths
Legend of the Christmas Tree
Tree and serpent worship