Q: Pastor Wilson, I’m wondering if Seventh-day Adventists celebrate Christmas?
A: As a church, we don’t have an official statement or position about celebrating Christmas, leaving it instead to the individual.
We must be careful not to allow the subject of Christmas to become a divisive issue among us, criticizing or alienating those who may see it differently than we ourselves do.
Ellen White has provided wise counsel on this topic that remains relevant for us today:
“We are now nearing the close of another year, and shall we not make these festal days opportunities in which to bring to God our offerings? I cannot say sacrifices, for we shall only be rendering to God that which is His already, and which He has only entrusted to us till He shall call for it. 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.
“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. Let your donations be sanctified by prayer.
“Christmas and New Year celebrations can and should be held in behalf of those who are helpless. God is glorified when we give to help those who have large families to support.
“Will you not arise, my Christian brethren and sisters, and gird yourselves for duty in the fear of God, so arranging this matter that it shall not be dry and uninteresting, but full of innocent enjoyment that shall bear the signet of Heaven? I know the poorer class will respond to these suggestions. The most wealthy should also show an interest and bestow their gifts and offerings proportionate to the means with which God has entrusted them.
"Let there be recorded in the heavenly books such a Christmas as has never yet been seen because of the donations which shall be given for the sustaining of the work of God and the upbuilding of His kingdom.” — Review and Herald, December 11, 1879, par. 15.
While we don’t know exactly when Jesus was born, the important thing is that we know prophecy was fulfilled precisely as predicted — Jesus was born in Bethlehem to a virgin. He was wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. He lived a sinless life, was wounded for our transgressions, died and rose again and is now in heaven ministering for us in the heavenly sanctuary. Soon, He will come again, not as a helpless baby but as conquering King to take us home.
Let’s use this time of year to bring our best gifts to the King of kings in order to reach our friends, neighbors, co-workers, acquaintances, and even strangers, with the wonderful message proclaimed so beautifully in Isaiah 9:6: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, the everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
May God bless each of us as we give Christ our hearts today and every day as we wait for His soon return — His second advent.