* Christmas Comments *
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Your Comment May Not Be Posted. Here`s Why:

Because we have a limited staff of volunteers and no budget we are forced by circumstances to limit the kinds of comments concerning the subject of Christmas. We are Seventh-day Adventist Christians who believe in Scripture and the ministry of Ellen White. Therefore, the response to comments by our moderators will conform to the balanced principles found in both of these sources.

Origin of Christmas — Does It Matter?

Judging by the comments that have come in but have not been published, there seems to be a lot of concern about Christmas as a pagan holiday. Some even say that there is no command in Scripture on having a celebration on that day. While that is true, neither is there a command against it. Furthermore no people we know confine their practices to those specifically mentioned in Scripture. We daresay that those who point out that Christmas is not mentioned in Scripture, nevertheless wear modern clothes, drive cars, and worship in churches with piano and organ music, study Sabbath School lessons, send their children to church schools and academies — even though none of these are mentioned in Scripture.

We all know that the exact day that Jesus was born is completely unknown just like there never was any artwork of the first half of the first century that shows us what Jesus looked like. If there were, man would probably worship it instead of the Lord Himself. Historically all we know for sure is that some time during the third and fourth centuries the Christian church adopted December 25 as a day to remember Christ’s birth in Bethlehem.

Ellen White`s Focus

It is this general understanding of a nebulous origin that Ellen White avoids in her writings. Her concern doesn’t seem to be about the day as such but what we do with it. In fact in the 117 times the word “Christmas” appears in all of her writings paganism is never associated with it.1 Over and over she bemoans the selfishness that surrounds Christmas with all the gifts to one another and the feasting to the point of gluttony. She counsels not against the day but that it should be focused towards lifting burdens and making life a joy for other people. She points us toward focusing on Jesus who came and sacrificed so much for each of us which should cause us to worship Him who gave everything He had just so we could be with Him in Heaven.

We Can Choose Our Focus

We can make the 25th of December dreary and burdensome and cast a dark shadow over it if we wish, or we can use something that the devil has perverted for evil and turn it around to further the cause of Christ by applying the leverage principles of Judo. The devil has a momentum going in this season that we can use to steer things in the right direction. The decision is ours to make: We can be depressing Scrooges or happy, cheerful Christians, lighting the space around us by allowing the light from Jesus to shine through us. If we do that, the Holy Spirit can use our witness, along with the cross, to draw people into the arms of Christ. The world can see better at this time of the year what the kingdom of God is really like – they can see the contrast between selfishness and benevolence. Shouldn’t we be using that momentum for the kingdom of God instead of fighting among ourselves concerning the day which no one is absolutely sure about?

For these reasons we have chosen not to publish most comments that tend to be negative and condemning or focus on the supposed pagan origins of Christmas. Writers of such comments will not be notified that their comments are not published. We reserve the right to publish selected comments after editing for brevity.

  1. There are no hits on a proximity search of Ellen White’s writings using 10 paragraphs as a proximity for the words “Christmas” and “pagan*” (the asterisk is a wildcard character that expands the search of words with the base “pagan”)
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Comments

* Christmas Comments * — 31 Comments

  1. Hi guys,
    Leaving out comments that does not conform with your way of thinking is bordering on intolerance.
    Why not choose a day with less controversy and better ideals such as Thanksgiving?
    Does it matter if it is not a global holiday as Christmas?
    Do we follow trends or are we pathfinders?
    I hope i can explain to my friends who always knew the reasons why my church doesn't celebrate December 25th,that my church is now experiencing mid-life identity crisis and that this too will pass.
    SMH.

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    • Jen, I suppose that one could view it as “bordering on intolerance” but the article was written with a lot of flexibility in view. This blog is intended for sharing ideas. Opposing views are fine, but there have to be some kind of limits on what is published.

      The point that is being made is that we should utilize the day in a positive way rather than turning it into a negative, which for the most part only hardens hearts rather than soften them. If we are to be like Jesus then we must learn to meet people where they are and gently lift them up from there. Scripture describes the Messiah as one who acts in a way that, “A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench.” (Isa 42:3 NKJV) This is just another way of saying that He would be very gentle in the way he relates to people.

      The article does not condemn nor does it endorse Christmas. What it does say is that we should use the day to the advantage of Christ, and sometimes that means touching a leper.

      The intent was to steer us away from being so negative and toward a positive outgoing attitude that would win souls to Christ. That is why the unnecessary repetition is not being published.

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      • I am so glad for your comments I have gotten so tired of my people, Adventist separating themselves from society as a whole that we no longer can minister to them. Christmas is a way that we as SDA's can minister to others we should use it as a stepping stone.

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    • Jen, I had to chuckle at your reference to the church "now experiencing mid-life identity crisis."

      This phrase suggests that recognizing Christmas is a new thing in the Adventist church, when in actuality, this focus on "pagan origins" is much newer and might be more accurately considered as arising in the "mid-life identity crisis."

      I know of some who preach about pagan origins of Christmas, Easter and various symbols sometimes used in our society, and my sense is that these earnest souls have been fooled into losing the vision of uplifting Christ crucified. Such attention to historical details -- whether accurate or not -- only takes the focus off our mission.

      It makes me especially sad to see young people earnest in researching and preaching about "pagan origins." I tend to think that a generation that focuses on pagan origins will not be the generation that gives the last message of mercy to this world -- a revelation of His character of love -- unless and until the focus can be shifted from prescribing how to live and root out evil to a focus on a constant surrender to Christ who only can change hearts to motivate actions that reflect His character of love. (See Christ's Object Lessons, pp. 415,416)

      A focus on the details of correct behavior lends itself too well to the same behavior pattern as that exhibited by the Pharisees of Christ's day. By contrast, a focus on surrender to Christ, forces us to realize that there is nothing in ourselves of which to boast, and our salvation and even our "good behavior" is to be wholly ascribed to the grace of Christ. With a heart full of gratitude we are then eager to share what Christ has done for us and is willing to do for others.

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  2. I have noted the above comments and you seem to suggest that one can either be a depressing depressing Scrooge or a happy cheerful Christian. If one chooses not to celebrate christmas but is a happy Christian all year round, how does that make one a depressing Scrooge? Please feel free not to publish comments that do not agree with your point of view, since your budget only allows what you like. That is OK.

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    • Dear Corinthia,
      *
      Thank you for the good questions that you have raised. How does that make one a depressing Scrooge? In my view, Corinthia, it doesn't. My sense is that our dear editor has no desire to control anyone's conscience. In fact, my feeling is that freedom of conscience is her main concern. She wishes to run a website that is a blessing to all, while respecting freedom of expression as far as reasonably possible. I don't see anything in her post to suggest that she is unwilling to publish views in opposition to her own.
      *
      Of course, I am not authorized to speak for anyone, Corinthia. I'm just letting you know how I see this. In doctrinal questions, I feel that there is generally a correct balance to be found, through submission to the word of God. Perhaps the same principle applies to publishing the comments of others. There is surely a correct balance to be sought, between respecting the rights of the individual and protecting the interests of the group.
      *
      Kindly bear with our editor as she (I believe) sincerely seeks to find this balance.
      *
      God bless!

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      • Just to clarify, my posts appear under my name.

        I did not write the *Christmas Comments* article. It is a joint statement from several of us who volunteer to provide this site for you. Hence the "SSNET staff" as the author's name, rather than a single individual.

        @Corinthia: It seems to me that anyone who chooses to be "a happy Christian all year round" will not demonstrate an attitude of condemnation towards those who choose to recognize Christmas as a time to focus on the miracle and mystery of the incarnation of God with us. I would think they would choose to focus on the love of Christ rather than the practices of pagans.

        Inge Anderson
        Editor of Sabbath School Net

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  3. Your comments in reference to "The Origin of Christmas - Does it matter?" are very well explained, balanced and in agreement with I had read and studied in the scripture. As I was reading it, it makes me humbly proud of the Seventh-day Adventist doctrine, which resembles the true spirit of the gospel and Jesus' character of love. May God continue to bless your good work!

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  4. Just wanted to say God bless and merry Christmas! Enjoyed reading your "Christmas comments" articule. It was really on time and to the point. I hope that many people will see just what God has done for this world, and surrender their hearts to him!

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  5. Thank you for a well balanced answer to the Christmas question. I have been inundated with well-meaning emails concerning how pagan I am for "keeping" a pagan holiday and how I am condoning the horrible practices that supposedly happened on that day... when I politely tell them that I choose to enjoy time with my family and share Jesus with those around me on that day I am basically told that God will condemn me for this. Your article was a breath of fresh air. Thank you!

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  6. Christmas

    By the grace of God the wisdom that he has imparted on me about Christmas is similar to what was said by SSNET. I'm 21yrs old and I use Christmas as an opportunity to share Christ with others. Whether or not the Adventist Church celebrated Christmas before is not something that we should be fixated on. I thank God that his wisdom has enlightened us to use this season and other seasons to witness to the world. This is the season when most people in the world speaks and takes time off to talk about the Birth of Jesus Christ and what better way to reach them but at this time.We as an Adventist church have always witnessed to others but the remembrance of Christ's birth is a crucial time to tell others that Jesus Saves. I pray that everyone will seek to take the positive aspects of this season and share the love of God to others(as the Fruits of the Spirit) and helping those that are less fortunate.

    For more insight on the topic of Christmas you could read this month's article in the Gleaner Magazine also available on The Atlantic Union website on the link below:
    http://atlantic-union.org/images/Gleaner%20Online/Dec11Gleaner.pdf

    [Note that this is a rather large pdf file which some computer systems may have difficulty handling. Moderator]

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  7. Christmas season has certainly become a money making, self indulgent, demanding, economic monstrosity if viewed only as satan's scheme.
    Each of us can become caught up in the hurry and spending of the season if we fail to pause and reflect on the real Gift this seasons represents and the unimaginable love that provided it.
    In my imagination as a mother and sinner, I stand at the foot of Calvary, daring to consider within the limits of human understanding, the pain that Mary, Joseph, and God experienced, watching their Son suffer and die.
    As a mother, I honestly do not believe I could offer one of my boys in place of even one undeserving person, much less a mob of delighted, blood-thirsty mockers.
    And yet in His love and mercy, Christ willingly suffered immense pain for me...for all of us; none of whom deserve His love or His life.
    The faith and trust in God that kept Mary and Joseph willing participants in the plan of salvation is the faith I want most from this Christmas time.
    If we step back from the rush and hurry of buying and giving and ponder the Gift that offers eternal life, then Christmas is truly a celebration of what matters most.

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  8. I'm am so grateful for this article from the ssnet and it is my prayer that we will use every opportunity that we have as SDA to be a light to this world and that Jesus will be shared with family and friends especially doing the Christmas season. We have a message to share with the world let's use it to bring glory and honor to Him and to be a blessing to some one else.

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  9. Hi guys.
    Am an SDA since I was born, you seem to suggest that by leaving out comments that do not conform with your way of thinking advances the cause of reaching out and spreads the message of God. The Adventism that I know does not discriminate other views, otherwise we will be like the medieval “mother church” that still claim to be infallible and does not accept challenges. Let’s not be afraid of different views ssnet.org. in the multitude of counsel we find wisdom.

    yan

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    • Dear Yan,

      If you’ve spent any amount of time on SSNET, you know that we find good number of comments are in disagreement with the article under which they are posted.

      However, as in any other culture, there are limits to what can be allowed, if we wish to have SSNET be true to its mission. Other websites have tried to operate with a hands-off approach, but experience has demonstrated that unregulated sites tend to self-destruct, and that’s why this blog is moderated.

      Consider that this blog is a bit like a magazine to which you may write and express your opinion about the articles published. If you express yourself courteously and document the reasons for your opinion, your comment has a good chance of being published. However, no good purpose is served by publishing numerous emotional comments making the same negative charges of “paganism.”

      Our moderation of comments is based on the comment guidelines which are quite flexible. Yet they do not cover all things, and we seek to exercise good judgment under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. You may help us by praying that the Holy Spirit will guide our decisions.

      For the sake of our readers, we have moderated the Christmas comments a little more strictly than we normally do. However, we have tried to present a representative sampling of opinion, both negative and positive.

      We had hoped that those who comment on our site would follow the lead provided by Ellen White’s comments on Christmas. See comments on The Meaning of Christmas. While she decried the self-centered excesses, she suggested that it was not best to totally ignore the season and that we could recognize it in a way that honors Christ. She chose not to focus on “pagan” origins, and we believe that to be a wise policy still.

      The Apostle Paul tells us that by beholding Christ we are changed into His image. (2 Cor 3:18) The corollary is that by beholding Satan and his activities, we are changed into his image. And we have no intention of facilitating that sort of “beholding.”

      Our job is to be ambassadors for Jesus (2 Cor 5:20), and intercessors for others (1 Tim 2:1). Just like Paul did between Philemon and Onesimus, we are to reconcile those in the world to Christ (2 Cor 5:20). That means building bridges for people to come over to the kingdom of God. We cannot do this by pulling the rug out from under them. Christmas presents a wonderful opportunity for building such bridges on a personal level, because people tend to be more friendly then, and they accept conversation about Jesus more easily.

      As a private blog we reserve the right to refuse comments or to edit those that cross the limits of our policies, or which we deem to be in violation of the spirit of those policies. We believe that in this way the greater good will be served.

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  10. Interesting comments ...

    The SDA Church of today seems quite different from 35 years ago when I became a SDA and a born again child of The King. There are several small changes that are being introduced now that were preached against then. While I can appreciate that the Church embraces new light as it comes, some of these very actions are to be avoided based on counsels from the the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. Well, even the Apostle Paul cautioned against different doctrines coming in the Church in the last days.

    So, tell me Ms Anderson, and all the others out there, how should I celebrate Christmas without mirroring the world? Should I deck my house with lights and fancy decorations to be viewed by others? Should I decorate a Christmas tree for my home to be admired by my guests? Or, can I celebrate Christ coming by leaving all the fan dangles out of the season and grasp the opportunity to put more hours into trying to reach souls for Christ?

    I think the biggest issue here is not really about celebrating Christ birth but the HOW to celebrate.

    How a person celebrate is really dependent on their relationship with Christ. So often I am reminded that Christ did not have a popular voice/vote. Christ preached and taught in all seasons.

    Let us not wait until this time of the year only to tell others about Christ. Most of all, let us be very careful about the mixed messages we as SDA are sending to our neighbours! Do remember that you are different. We are a pecular people and this should be reflected in everything we do.

    May Christ abide in our hearts and wrought the changes necessary, this season and always.

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    • Hello Juliet, I thought of you when I read Mrs. Whites comments in Review and Herald Dec 11, 1879 which I hope will be helpful. She wrote: " 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 .The tree may be as tall as its branches and as wide as shall best suit the occasion. Some have said to me Sister White, what do you think of this? Is it in accordance with our faith? I answer them, It is with my Faith" I believe Mrs. White was very wise, wouldn't you agree? Blessings, Pastor Sica

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  11. I think christmas day has never added value to people who pretend to celebrating it because this is the day most people spend on luxurious things like drinking alcohols,and other drugs abuse in the name of celebrating the birth of christ like in my country this peak for accident cases as drunk drivers and other people loose their live travelling long distances to go celebrate themselves.

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    • Thank you for your comment Wilfred.

      Let's think about your reasoning a bit more: It seems to me that people do more drinking on the seventh day of the week than on most others. And they party and swear and use drugs. And because they drink, they get into accidents.

      Should we therefore stop celebrating Sabbath as a memorial of creation and symbol of our rest in Christ both now and in eternity?

      Does some people's misuse of a season mean that others cannot make good use of it?

      Please understand that those of us who disagree with the negative emphasis on Christmas are not promoting the celebration of Christmas. What you do on December 25th is strictly your business, and we won't condemn you whether you choose to celebrate the birth of Christ on that day or not.

      We appeal to our readers to pray about how best to represent Christ to the world in this season, and then act according to their convictions without judging the hearts of their neighbors who may not have the same convictions.

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  12. In response to Jen, I'm actually glad they chose Christmas. I can't relate to Thanksgiving and neither can the remainder of the world church since it's an American holiday.
    On that point however, I've heard many people say that we should not acknowledge, far less celebrate Christmas because it is not Biblical. However, there are a number of holidays that the church and members across the world celebrate. Some are cultural and some are religious. Independence Day, for example, is not biblical but many members and even churches still celebrate their country's independence.
    I stand by my opinion that our main focus should not be on the world but rather on what is suitable Christian behavior. When we spend so much time fussing over little things in an effort to make ourselves different we can often drive ourselves down a path of salvation by works, not realizing that we ARE different and that people will see that difference without us having to put on an act to differentiate ourselves from the world. If a spirit-led Christian celebrates Christmas, it will not be the same as a non-Christian.
    With controversial, "gray area" issues, we must individually follow conscience, yes, but as far as possible, the church should not be prescriptive. I believe that, where possible, the church should find a way to acknowledge cultural holidays and even practices within a Christian context.

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  13. Dear brothers and sisters:

    Why are you discussing about the vanity of this world? Is this byzantine discussion adding something good to your lives? Are you finding Jesus here?

    Jesus is coming soon and instead of preaching the gospel to everybody around us as Paul did, are we being captive of Satan's trap of division and distraction?

    This is what the enemy wants and you are accepting it! Stop discussing in vain something that is not related to doctrine. Let's invest our precious time in studying the Bible and the spirit of prophecy. Let's study about our doctrines (because in the latter time that's we will have to defend). Let's study about prophecy and how to share this invaluable knowledge with others. Let's pray for those facing persecution in their countries or even in their workplaces and schools. Let's pray for our children and for our leaders. Let's pray for ourselves!

    The same Jesus who was born in this planet, taking our human nature (it doesn't matter the exact day) to save us from eternal condemnation will come again and soon to take us with Him. Are we ready to welcome Him that marvelous day, or are we going to be discussing if Christmas is a pagan festivity STILL?!

    With fraternal christian love, greetings from Bogota, Colombia.

    J.

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  14. As a moderator of the comments on this blog, I get to see even the comments that do not get published. Most of the comments that come in at this time of year have to do with Christmas and many of those relate Christmas to paganism and say that we shouldn’t celebrate on that day because it is not Christian. It is a fact that Christmas is not mentioned in Scripture. The birth of Christ is not mentioned in Scripture outside of the simple story of Jesus birth in Bethlehem.

    Because of this we go to Ellen White’s writings for an understanding of what to do during the holidays. In her writings on the subject nowhere does she connect paganism to Christmas. The closest we come to that kind of a thing is found in the Review and Herald (December 9, 1884) where she says things like, “There is no divine sanctity resting upon the twenty-fifth of December; and it is not pleasing to God that anything that concerns the salvation of man through the infinite sacrifice made for them, should be so sadly perverted from its professed design. Christ should be the supreme object; but as Christmas has been observed, the glory is turned from him to mortal man, whose sinful, defective character made it necessary for him to come to our world (par. 3).” She also states that God purposefully hid the day because of man’s tendency to worship the object rather than the one who created it.

    Nowhere does she say that we are not to do any celebration on that day for she went to church that day and preached Christ’s birth.

    “On Christmas day our hall was full. Many had come in from Sydney, Adelaide, Ballarat, and the smaller churches. The Lord gave me much of his Spirit in speaking of the first advent of Christ, when angels heralded his birth to the waiting shepherds and sang their glad songs over the plains of Bethlehem.” {Bible Echo, January 1, 1892 par. 20}

    Nor does she say that we shouldn’t have a Christmas tree in the church.

    “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.
    The tree may be as tall and its branches as wide as shall best suit the occasion; but let its boughs be laden with the golden and silver fruit of your beneficence, and present this to Him as your Christmas gift.” {RH, December 11, 1879 par. 15}

    Her main concern was not to condemn these things but that we should not do as the world does involving itself in gluttony, self gratification, and sinful revelry. Over and over again she condemns how the world celebrates that day and tells us that our focus should be on Christ and what he has done for us. She tells us that we should remember his mission in gifts and offerings to his cause and to help the hurting, poor, helpless people around us. In fact, she doesn’t even condemn the giving of presents to one another. What she does condemn is the extravagance with which it is so often done.

    “God is not honored by the practice of bestowing costly presents upon a few favorites because it is the custom. These favorites are seldom the Lord’s poor. Many are really perplexed to decide what gifts they can select that will give pleasure to those who are abundantly supplied with the good things of this life. Thousands of dollars are needlessly spent every year on Christmas gifts. The means is lost to the cause of God. Not only so, but it gratifies vanity, encourages pride, and often occasions dissatisfaction and complaints because the gifts are not what was desired, or are not of the value expected. As Christians, we cannot honor a custom which is not approved of Heaven. All that we possess belongs to God, and he has made us his stewards. Let us not expend our means for idols to please the fancy and engage the affections of our friends, to the neglect of our best Friend,-the one to whom we owe everything.” {RH, December 15, 1885 par. 2}

    “While urging upon all the duty of first bringing their offerings to God, I would not wholly condemn the practice of making Christmas and New Years gifts to our friends. It is right to bestow upon one another tokens of love and remembrance if we do not in this forget God, our best friend. We should make our gifts such as will prove a real benefit to the receiver.” {RH, December 26, 1882 par. 18}

    This is what Ellen White believed and practiced. She was practical in life and ministry. If we believe in her as a prophet to the remnant then shouldn't her writings and her example say something to us regarding how we are to relate to Christmas?

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    • What we as Christians and/or Adventists do on Christmas to celebrate or not likely has less significance to those around us than how we represent Christ the other 364 days of the year.
      As others have mentioned it is neither an endorsement of or judgement against those whose holiday traditions differ from our own.
      Jesus reminded us of the importance of loving one another.
      Condemnation of how others choose to acknowledge a holiday is far less Christ-like than showing His love.
      Getting distracted by minutia and splitting of hairs certainly must be a joy to the devil as it furthers his work of creating dissension that removes focus on Jesus.
      Praying for understanding and Christs nature in us
      leaves Satan to his work and us to Christ's

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  15. Christmas is of pagan origin. The tree, Santa claus, the reindeer, all of it came from deep pagan tradition, which was brought all the way from Genesis 11 of Babel. The christmas tree is even written clearly in the bible (try Jer 10:2,3). Paul in his writings wrote about some Galatians people who chose to celebrate certain days, season, month, or years, and speak strongly to warn them. However, he also warns in Romans writing so that people don't judge this people who celebrate certain days, but noted that you celebrate it to the Lord.

    But for me, you can notice Christmas from its "fruit". There is nothing good about it as we tend to use it to self indulge in shopping and merry. Even the moment that we give, we expect to get something else (principle in exchanging gifts program).

    I believe in no holi-day but the holy sabbath. And you will realize it too if you search enough about the origin of Christmas, which I might add well-staged by Satan himself to deceive many.

    I'll be happy to share my research with anyone. Just email me.

    Above all, Praise be to God!

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    • Rizalvo, many people like yourself use Jer 10:2-3 to argue against Christmas trees. Why is it that no one ever includes the two following verses?

      Just so we all can see the context here are those two verses in context.

      1 Hear the word which the LORD speaks to you, O house of Israel. 2 Thus says the LORD: "Do not learn the way of the Gentiles; Do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven, For the Gentiles are dismayed at them.
      3 For the customs of the peoples are futile; For one cuts a tree from the forest, The work of the hands of the workman, with the ax.
      4 They decorate it with silver and gold; They fasten it with nails and hammers So that it will not topple.
      5 They are upright, like a palm tree, And they cannot speak; They must be carried, Because they cannot go by themselves. Do not be afraid of them, For they cannot do evil, Nor can they do any good." (Jer 10:1-5 NKJV)

      If these verses sound strangely similar to Hosea maybe it is because they are saying the same thing.

      Woe to him who says to wood,`Awake!' To silent stone,`Arise! It shall teach!' Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver, Yet in it there is no breath at all. But the LORD is in His holy temple. Let all the earth keep silence before Him (Hab 2:19-20 NKJV)

      And to the Psalms as well.

      Why should the Gentiles say, "So where is their God?" But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases. Their idols are silver and gold, The work of men's hands. They have mouths, but they do not speak; Eyes they have, but they do not see; They have ears, but they do not hear; Noses they have, but they do not smell; They have hands, but they do not handle; Feet they have, but they do not walk; Nor do they mutter through their throat. Those who make them are like them; So is everyone who trusts in them. (Psa 115:2-8 NKJV; see also Ps 135:15-16)

      Matthew Henry’s commentary says that the verses have to do with the making of an idol as does the SDA Commentary along with Ellen White. Therefore the verses in question have absolutely nothing to do with Christmas trees. I suppose that everyone could be bowing down to worship them but I for one don’t see that happening.

      In my opinion it is very dangerous to take scripture out of context and apply it any way we wish. To me that is not good exegesis because in doing that a person can come up with all kinds of strange doctrine.

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  16. I miss that my church used to be known for going door-to-door caroling for several nights during the Christmas season raising money for work during the year. Tonight carolers came to the door to raise money for Philippine mission work. I thought maybe it was a group from my church. No, they were from the Church of Christ. They sounded wonderful and I was happy to see them. May God bless them on their way.

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  17. Christmas is about the story of Jesus. Yet, I don't hear unbelievers arguing and debating its observance as Christians do. That's quite interesting.

    Jesus' birth date was not recorded in scripture. Neither was anyone else's. Just doesn't seem to be the thing that Biblical writers deemed necessary.

    God sent Jesus from heaven into a woman on earth. Did God borrow that idea from the pagans, or did they from Him?

    No intelligent person believes Jesus was born on December 25th. The idea of Christmas is not a day, but His coming. And every week all Christians celebrate that event at church.

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  18. Hi Inge,

    Could you please be specific in terms of you referring to Christmas (25th December) being chosen by the "early church"? What do you mean or to whom are you referring to when you speak of the "early church"?

    I noticed that most of the people on the forum acknowledge that Christmas celebration is a "tradition" or part of their "culture".So my question is, what did Jesus teach about tradition? See Matthew 15:1-9, isn't this a lesson which is applicable to us as the church today? Isn't it tradition which led to apostacy and leading the world to false worship today?

    If my memory serves me right, the bible gives 2 accounts of birthday celebrations which ended up tragically where a chief baker was hanged by Pharaoh and John the Baptist was decapitated by Herod respectively (Genesis 40:20-23 and Matthew 14:6-10). Another account of celebrations which I'm not sure if some were birthdays is where we see Job's sons having feasts and afterwards Job offering burnt offerings for them continually being worried of "...it may be that my sons have sinned and cursed
    God..." Job 1:4,5. Is God speaking to us today through these examples?

    Lastly, what is the symbol or meaning of a Christmas tree? Whether we like it or not, these are things which divide us in the church because if we say people should be free to celebrate Christmas or not then I ask, "what happens if some want to bring the celebration to the church, with all the Christmas decorations etc? Do we consider those who do not celebrate Christmas, are we saying during December they should stay at home or find alternative places of worship?

    We will only be "...of one accord in the same place..." in the church if we are sanctified by truth, and His Word is the truth (Acts 2:1 & John 17:17. We shall know the truth and it shall set us free indeed (John 8:32).

    Celebrating Christmas whether different from the world as long as the day is attributed to the birth of Jesus Christ our Lord is the same as Celebrating Easter(Sunday) celebrations in the name of celebrating the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Isn't the Sabbath enough to remember who Our Creator and Redeemer is? Isn't Baptism enough to unite us with Christ in walking in newness of Life for the world to see His love in us (Romans 6:1-12)? Isn't Holy Communion enough to remember Lord Jesus until he comes (1 Corinthians 11:23-25)? Yes the whole world on December 25th celebrate "birth of Christ" and will continue so until Lord Jesus comes, but do they really acknowledge Him? So what is the point of celebration then? We don't need Christmas to study and know the birth of Jesus Christ. It is through our daily surrender to the Holy Spirit in what we say and do to know Christ and acknowledge Him. It is through prayer and studying the Word to know what pleases God and not the world.

    @Helen - you made interesting points and asked relevant questions.

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    • Boykie, since Inge is officially on vacation with her family and has only been able to deal with a very few things I thought it appropriate for me as a moderator to reply on her behalf. I will be dealing with things in the order you present them.

      You said, “Could you please be specific in terms of you referring to Christmas (25th December) being chosen by the ‘early church’? What do you mean or to whom are you referring to when you speak of the ‘early church?’”
      No one knows precisely when or exactly where that day was chosen as the celebration of Christ’s birth. Most scholarship says probably in the 3rd century in the western church. Even though most researchers feel that it was instituted on religious grounds, there are others that disagree and assign the reason to calendar considerations. The point that we have made over and over again is that no one knows for sure and cannot be proven either way. Because of that we feel arguing about the day is a waste of time and energy that should be spent on better things.

      You said, “So my question is, what did Jesus teach about tradition? See Matthew 15:1-9, isn’t this a lesson which is applicable to us as the church today?”
      Let’s look at these verses:

      Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, 2 "Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread." 3 He answered and said to them, "Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? 4 "For God commanded, saying,`Honor your father and your mother'; and,`He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.' 5 "But you say,`Whoever says to his father or mother, "Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God"-- 6 `then he need not honor his father or mother.' Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. 7 "Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: 8 `These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. 9 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'" (Mat 15:1-9 NKJV)

      The operative verse here is verse 3 where He says “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?” He then goes on to give an example of what He was talking about in verses 4 through 6. The point Jesus was obviously making here is that they were violating the commandments through their tradition, in this case to honor your father and mother.

      These verses are really not applicable to Christmas since there is no commandment either for or against celebrating the birth of Jesus. No commandment is violated in celebrating anyone’s birthday, on any particular day. Neither is there a violation for observing national holidays many of which are commemorating events concerning individuals.

      The two birthdays in scripture that you point out are the only two in the Bible and are about the celebrations of haughty, proud political figures that can in no way be used as a model for birthday celebrations. Furthermore these events are incidental to the real focus of the narrative that basically gives background information in support of the main thought. Nothing is said in Scripture whether birthday celebrations are good or bad. Besides, we could also carry this to marriage festivities for which there is no commandment either. Jesus supported one such festivity in Cana (John 2) with a ridiculous amount of beverage.

      As for being in one accord, you of course mean that we all need to do what some of those in the church would like everyone to do and because we all would be doing the same thing on one side of the issue there would be unity. I really don’t think that is what is meant by unified diversity. That kind of mentality is the same as the communist manifesto suggests, that peace occurs when everyone is forced into a particular mould like so many robots.

      So is it wrong to celebrate anyone’s birthday? Is it wrong to choose a day to celebrate the incarnation of the Son of God or of His death or resurrection? As far as I am concerned it is only wrong when it breaks one of the commandments. Doing something not mentioned in any law does no harm to anyone (Gal 5:22-23).

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  19. @ Humphreys K.
    I beg to differ. We can have a "truly Christian" emphasis on the incarnation of the King of Kings in the form of a helpless baby. We can demonstrate our gratitude for this demonstration of His matchless for love for us -- His becoming one with us so we might recognize His character and trust Him enough to rescue us from the pit of sin.

    Several of us have shared in our comments how we can remember this history-making event of the universe in a truly Christian way on December 25th. But long before this, Ellen White gave counsel on how to observe Christmas as Adventist Christians. See the comments above and under "The Meaning of Christmas"

    Words and days have no intrinsic meaning. They have the meaning we choose go give them as a society. That's why using the names of the days of the week (which were all named after pagan deities) does not make us worshipers of these deities. The names have long lost this situation. Any supposedly pagan association with Christmas in ages past is not remembered by anyone except those who choose to focus on a pagan past rather than choose to focus on making the best of an opportunity to connect with neighbors and friends in a season of open hearts.

    Again I say the choice is yours: You may focus on supposed pagan origins, on current excesses, current pagan practices -- or you may focus on the incomprehensible condescension of the Majesty of heaven to be born as a baby in this sin-polluted world.

    You may choose to feel superior to those who celebrate what you deem to be a pagan holiday, or you may choose to feel humbled that the Prince of Peace should condescend to become Emmanuel, God With Us.

    The choice is yours. Please choose well.

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  20. Inge,
    Beleive you me, there is abolutely no way we can make chrismas a “really Christian” celebration.
    Let us not be the ones fulfilling the prophencies of endtime.

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