For one thing, both trees have a definite reference to God. Although people may have an image of a fruit tree (like apple) rather than an evergreen tree when they think of the Tree of Life in the Genesis story, a Christmas tree actually contains more symbolic spiritual richness.
So let’s explore the symbolism.
An evergreen represents God’s eternal activity better than a deciduous “apple” tree. However, you may still be inclined to point out that a balsam fir or other evergreen tree bears no fruit, and therefore, offers humans no real sustenance. The whole point of God’s Tree of Life in the garden is that it contained what was “good to eat” and therefore could sustain a healthy life.
If we contemplate for a moment that Christmas time enlivens the human spirit during the dead of winter, then we can assume that it is our inner spirit that is being fed and nourished. A Christmas tree feeds our heart and soul more effectively than any apple tree could!
What many Bible interpreters fail to grasp is that the true purpose of the Tree of Life was to feed the human soul (which doesn’t eat apples). What else would grow and take the center position in God’s special garden than that which could sustain and nourish human goodness and spiritual love?
The fact that we usually place an angel or star (of Bethlehem) at the top of the Christmas tree symbolizes that everything below it is aligned to and supportive of spiritual qualities at the top (from heaven). The beautiful ornaments and lights of a Christmas tree symbolize the wonderful variation, complexity and beauty of God’s Truth and Love. This spiritual symbolism is further supported by the gifts, which are placed under the Christmas tree. Christmas is a time for giving and sharing. And although Christmas shopping can involve a kind of mindless consumerism, the symbolism of gift giving still offers a deeper message of spiritual love for those of us way down here on earth.
A Christmas tree warms the heart. Love and sharing is felt in the human heart and soul as the very essence of spiritual warmth. The Lord God came into the world to spread this spiritual message of love. God’s intent is that the Tree of Life as well as the Tree of Christmas should be internalized within human experience and come to symbolize the quality of one’s heart.