It was my first Christmas season in Florida. Shortly after Thanksgiving, a father showed up to our Bible study, very discouraged. It was his daughter’s 11th birthday, and due to finances at home he did not have a single dime to buy her a gift. Several days later, I was surprised when his daughter called me at the church, asking to put an ad in the church bulletin. She was organizing a group at her school to collect Christmas gifts for kids who had no gifts. In talking to her, it was clear that she was excited about this, and she definitely was not thinking about any gift for herself. That really touched my heart. This child understood more than the meaning of Christmas. She understood the meaning of life! She was so busy thinking of others that she had no time to feel sorry for herself. I appreciate the Christmas season as it helps me to see the good that is in people all year long. I’m sorry not everyone sees it that way.
Imagine this scenario. It’s a beautiful sunny Florida day. You call me and say, “William, let’s go to the beach and enjoy a beautiful sunset.” I respond, “No way! Don’t you know that some pagans worship the sun, therefore we should have nothing to do with it!” Not very balanced thinking huh? Likewise just because there may be some pagan things pertaining to Christmas it should not keep us from worshiping the Son on that day! I have heard that Christmas is a Catholic holiday. Does that make it wrong? Just because you are not a Catholic does not mean everything they do or have done is bad. Catholics operate good hospitals all over the world where people of all faiths and beliefs receive compassionate care. If we are not Catholic does that mean that we should not have good hospitals just because they do? There are many good Catholics who pray every day. Should we refrain from prayer because Catholics pray? Of course not. So why should we refrain from celebrating a holiday that makes the whole world think of Jesus? Remember, like Christmas, Martin Luther’s origins were Catholic too, so as good protestants should we reject him too? No. We need to “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21 Please remember that in Romans 13 Paul tells us to go along with things as long as they don’t go against the Word of God. While Sunday observance opposes the Sabbath observance, celebrating Christmas does not oppose anything Biblical.
Please remember, that while Paul clearly taught that the feast days were no longer binding, but were a shadow of things to come (See Colossians 2:14-17) that he still went up to Pentecost, as it was an opportunity for him to share Jesus with everyone. (See Acts 20:16 and 1 Corinthians 16:8) with the same missionary Spirit that Paul had, should we not also take advantage of celebrations that enable us to share Jesus, including Christmas and Easter?
The Spirit of Prophecy that rested upon Paul stays consistent as it rested upon Ellen White, who tells us Christmas serves a good purpose.
As the twenty-fifth of December is observed to commemorate the birth of Christ, as the children have been instructed by precept and example that this was indeed a day of gladness and rejoicing, you will find it a difficult matter to pass over this period without giving it some attention. It can be made to serve a very good purpose. –Ellen White, Adventist Home, Page 478
I believe that if Christmas was a day that we should ignore, that God’s prophet would have instructed us so very clearly. She does not instruct us to ignore this day. God gave her no such message.
Nor does the Spirit of Prophecy tell us that a Christmas tree within itself is pagan.
God would be well pleased if on Christmas, each church would have a Christmas tree on which shall be hung offerings, great and small, for these houses of worship. Letters of inquiry have come to us asking, Shall we have a Christmas tree? will it not be like the world? We answer, You can make it like the world if you have a disposition to do so, or you can make it as unlike the world as possible. There is no particular sin in selecting a fragrant evergreen, and placing it in our churches; but the sin lies in the motive which prompts to action, and the use which is made of the gifts placed upon the tree. –Ellen White, Review and Herald, December 11, 1879 par. 15
Yes, we all know Jesus was not born on December 25. We do not need to celebrate it as Christ’s actual birthday. We celebrate the fact that Jesus became a man and died for our sins. Maybe Christmas was inspired by pagan motives. Joseph’s brothers had “pagan” motives when they sold him to the Ishmaelites. No matter. God used it for good and made Joseph a savior of his times. So today, we have an excellent opportunity to allow God to use a day set up by sinful mankind to turn peoples’ minds and hearts to the Savior. The original motives good or bad do not matter at this point. God can use it for good. This does not contradict Bible doctrine.
My mind goes back to another Christmas I celebrated with my church in Fort Worth Texas. Christmas fell on a Sabbath that year. My church decided to spend Sabbath feeding lunch to the homeless downtown. We had several kids of all ages with us. They were delighted to serve. Now, most of these families waited till sundown to celebrate Christmas and open their gifts, so even though it was late in the afternoon, these children had not opened their gifts yet. After we served and cleaned up I figured, and the parents figured too, that the kids would now be in a hurry to rush home in time for sundown to open their gifts. That is not what happened. These kids begged us to let them stay and serve the evening meal as well, even though another group was coming in to do that. The kids were so excited that they got to stay and serve total strangers instead of rushing home to open their gifts.
Friends the Christmas Spirit these kids manifested, and the Christmas Spirit of my Bible study student’s daughter was not a pagan spirit. It was a spirit of self sacrificing love, which is what true Christianity is all about!
When Joseph found out Mary was with child, he thought it was rather obvious she had an affair. Wouldn’t it seem obvious to you too? Joseph was wise to hold his peace and not say anything publically against Mary. Good thing he didn’t say anything, because Joseph found out that what had happened was actually done by the Holy Spirit. I am saddened when people judge the motives of people celebrating the Christmas Spirit, by calling them pagan, when in fact they are actually moved by the Holy Spirit celebrating the meaning of life which is Christ Himself.
I am a newly baptized as an SDA but , when I know the truth even this Christmas Day I did clearly understand that all of the tradition which the enemy is trying to let people forget what was written in the Bible,it says instead of cooperating the tradition of this world you or we must tell what is the real story about this Christmas celebration I really can’t see the point why this message need to be post it’s a confusion on us as a new member….. We need to follow the truth, not to support undocrinized or not written in the Bible we can do everyday sharing, giving but don’t emphasize about Christmas Day , for my 35 yrs. of living I’m doing this x’mas day but thank God after my baptism as a member of Seventh Day Adventist I learn the truth and willing to follow the truth. We must be careful of our post message maybe it will be a ground of accusation and confusion for other people who want to know the true we might mislead them. Coz now I am really telling to my friends and my love ones that instead of waiting Christmas , valentines etc. they need to be more closer to learn what is in the Bible nothing else…. God be with us and sorry it’s just , I’m only telling what’s on my mind I cannot agree for this post …..
http://ssnet.org/blog/2012/12/the-christmas-spirit/ Chato, welcome to the SDA church family and thank you for commenting. Many people have different thoughts. The link provided at the begining of my comment here is to the Sabbath School Network Site where I posted this article last year. I got several interesting comments if you would like to check them out and decide for yourself.
I do know Sir,that we have different opinion or thoughts but as we become more closer to God our thoughts become one ,sorry i really can’t understand,hope you can help me to understand your post,what i want to know what is our different on them?how can they follow us were saying we are the remnant church but still were joining worldly tradition how Sir?Nobody is perfect i admit but this case it’s the same story about we know that pork is unclean then with a celebration the people are not all the same how can we tell them or advise them that eating this food is not good with us,are we just pretend as if we don’t see them eating the abominable food?or the same react as my sister did that if you think it will be bad on you so don’t it,but if you think it will not harm you then do what you want to do?but i immediately rebuke her Sir i told her,how can you convince them to follow if your not going to tell the real reason of they must not eat unclean food because it was written,this is similar with christmas celebration Sir i have a little knowledge now about christmas as our pastor did tell us and i see the sincerity of this truth,we must separate the clean and unclean Sir ,God be with us ,i know i have a little understanding and want to learn more because i don’t want to be fooled by the enemy …..please can you explain to me this text Sir in Ezekiel 22:26-Her priests do violence my law and profane my holy things;they do not distinguish between the holy and the common;they teach that there is no difference between the unclean and clean;and they shut their eyes to the keeping of my Sabbaths,so that I am profaned among them…..Who is operating the worldwide Christmas celebration?giving charity for our love ones or other people can be done everyday but not to specify worldly tradition this is my own opinion as the Bible says so.
You say we can do charity on every day and share the gospel everyday. That includes Christmas. We are not doing pagan worship. We are taking advantage of a situation to turn people’s eyes to God, just like Jesus did when he used parables about the people’s interests.
” He met them at their daily vocations, and manifested an interest in their secular affairs. He carried His instruction into the household, bringing families in their own homes under the influence of His divine presence. His strong personal sympathy helped to win hearts.”–The Desire of Ages, p. 151.
A lot of the world celebrates Christmas with drinking and of course we do not join them in that. We only participate in that which is Biblical and pleasing to our Creator and Redeemer.