“Christmas” or “The Advent”? In Light of the Cross

DSCN1978

Christmas   The Advent in Light of the Cross, Day 18.

During this time of year the world turns their attention to the Bible account of the first Advent of Christ. You can read about it in Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2.  As Jesus’ disciples, fulfilling the gospel commission in Matthew 28:19-20, We must take advantage of every opportunity just as Jesus did.

Jesus saw in every soul one to whom must be given the call to His kingdom. He reached the hearts of the people by going among them as one who desired their good. He sought them in the public streets, in private houses, on the boats, in the synagogue, by the shores of the lake, and at the marriage feast. 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.–Ellen White, The Desire of Ages, p. 151.

I have been confused by some of the feedback I have received from professed Christians, saying we should not celebrate the birth of Jesus since He was not born on December 25. They turn around and say we should celebrate Jesus everyday. My question is, “Isn’t December 25 a day. Why stop sharing Jesus on December 25 just because He was not born on that day? ” I share Jesus everyday including December 25.

I understand now, why many Christian Protestant writers are now referring to the “Advent” instead of “Christmas.” Christmas has pagan connotations, while “Advent” sounds more Biblical. That is all well and good. I am not promoting anything pagan. I am only trying to share Jesus with my friends around the world. Still I get feedback from vigil ante Christians telling me Christmas is pagan and not Biblical. I do not publish these comments on my blog posts, because, while I am trying to share Jesus with those who may not know Him, they would find these comments very confusing. While I understand what these commenters are talking about, those who don’t know Jesus yet would not. They would only take the comments to mean that Jesus is pagan, since they do not have the same viewpoint as we do.

Jesus used terms and parables that the people could associate with and understand. The un-churched understand the word “Christmas” and can relate to it. As far as pagan or Biblical they have no opinion or notions. The word “Christmas” is nothing more than an open door for me to share Jesus. I can use the word “Advent” instead and that may be more appealing to people who are already Biblical, but that word is not going to mean anything to a world dying in sin, desperate for the good news of a Savior. “Advent” is a foreign term to them, and Jesus uses terms people can relate to in their daily lives.

The parables, by means of which He loved to teach lessons of truth, show how open His spirit was to the influences of nature, and how He delighted to gather the spiritual teaching from the surroundings of daily life.

 He drew illustrations also from the events of life, facts of experience familiar to the hearers–the leaven, the hid treasure, the pearl, the fishing net, the lost coin, the prodigal son, the houses on the rock and the sand. In His lessons there was something to interest every mind, to appeal to every heart.  –Ellen White, Child Guidance, Pages 51-52 

In order to reach the world we must overcome our narrow-minded thinking, and tunnel vision. Jesus was always right. He was always theologically correct, but He was also open minded, and was often grieved by the narrow-minded and bigoted self-righteous pharisees. December 25 is not the mark of the beast. December 25 does not oppose the seal of God in any way. December 25 is a day like any other day that the psalmist said we should rejoice in.

My posts do not promote anything pagan. They do not promote Christmas parties with drinking. They do not promote Santa Clause or any kind of mythology.

My  posts only promote Jesus and the Biblical accounts of His life, sacrifice and resurrection. Comments concerning what my posts are actually about are most welcome! Comments that would lead those seeking a Savior, even closer to God are most welcome. Thank you!

Christmas in Light of the Cross, Day 17 (Born of the Spirit)

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 1:20 NKJV

While Jesus was born with a human nature, many point out that Jesus had an advantage over us, in living a victorious life, because, while being human, He was also born of the Spirit. This is true. After all, Jesus did not come to demonstrate what an unconverted man may do. He came to demonstrate what a Spirit filled man can do. While Jesus had an advantage in being Spirit filled, He also offered that same advantage to Nicodemus and all of us.

Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:3-8 NKJV

According to John 3 we all may have the same advantage Jesus had. We all are invited to be born of God.

to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:19 NKJV

Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,  having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever…. 1 Peter 1:22-23 NKJV

Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. 1 John 3:9 NKJV 

Therefore Jesus was “in all points tempted like as we are.” Hebrews 4:15. He endured every trial to which we are subject. And He exercised in His own behalf no power that is not freely offered to us. As man, He met temptation, and overcame in the strength given Him from God. –Ellen White, Desire of Ages, Page 24.

Christmas in Light of the Cross, Day 16 (Acceptance)

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area, where many are accepting God's love and life changing power. Will you accept God's love into your heart today?

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area, where many are accepting God’s love and life changing power. Will you accept God’s love into your heart today?

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:  “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” Luke 2:13-14 NKJV

What a wonderful message from heaven to fallen man! The angels did not come and say, “God is over in Bethlehem, and you better get over there, and see if you can get things straightened out between you!” No! God is at peace with man if man will just,

“…take hold of My strength, That he may make peace with Me;
And he shall make peace with Me.” Isaiah 27:5 NKJV

God is not at war with mankind. Mankind is at war with God!

Because the carnal mind is enmity against God. Romans 8:7 NKJV

It is not God who is at enmity with man, it is man who is at enmity with God. In the Garden of Eden it was not God who ran from Adam after they sinned, but Adam who ran away from God.  In the story of the prodigal son, it was not the father but the son who ran away. It was not Jesus who told the demon possessed that He could not stand being near them, but it was the demon possessed, who could not stand being near Jesus.

So today our Intercessor does not intercede trying to convince God to accept us. No! He is interceding for us, trying to get us to accept the God who has never run away from us! He is interceding, pleading for us to come back to God! The Father provided the Intercessor, because He wanted to make peace with us, after the carnal mind made war with Him!

But this great sacrifice was not made in order to create in the Father’s heart a love for man, not to make Him willing to save. No, no! “God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son.” John 3:16. The Father loves us, not because of the great propitiation, but He provided the propitiation because He loves us. Christ was the medium through which He could pour out His infinite love upon a fallen world. “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.” 2 Corinthians 5:19. God suffered with His Son. In the agony of Gethsemane, the death of  Calvary, the heart of Infinite Love paid the price of our redemption.
Jesus said, “Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again.” John 10:17. That is, “My Father has so loved you that He even loves Me more for giving My life to redeem you. In becoming your Substitute and Surety, by surrendering My life, by taking your liabilities, your transgressions, I am endeared to My Father; for by My sacrifice, God can be just, and yet the Justifier of him who believeth in Jesus.” –Ellen White, Steps to Christ, Pages 13-14

While pagan religions make human sacrifices to get the gods to accept them, in Christianity the God makes the sacrifice to get the humans to accept Him!

Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,  having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,  to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:4-6 NKJV 

God is offering peace and good will towards man. Will you accept Christ’s forgiveness with all His life changing power today?

Christmas in Light of the Cross, Day 15, (As far as the Curse is Found)

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area. This is my home church. Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church.

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area. This is my home church. Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church.

But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more. Romans 5:20 NKJV

On Thanksgiving Day, this year my Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church Family lost a dear patriarch, when 95 year old Woody Hill passed away. Strangers would stop Woody and his wife in public and tell them they had a special beauty and glow. His children say it was Jesus in Him. Woody was always busy helping his family, his church and his neighbors. At age 85, when he heard a prowler was near a neighbor’s home, he grabbed his pistol and went out into the night to scare the prowler away, which he did!

Last night as I was visiting the family, I was awed by the time they told me he spent in prayer. Entire nights. That sounds like only One other Person I know. The only Person who gets a capital letter when only calling Them a Person. His family told me the week that he died, he was praying in his chair until 6 in the morning, and the way he prayed you would think Jesus was sitting right next to him. They told me how Woody prayed for the church and neighbors and everyone he knew including me! How humbling!

Having labored from Connecticut to Chiclayo Peru, I have met many people, who when I see them or hear their name, I quickly remember them and associate them with church. But Woody will always remind me  of Jesus!

After Woody’s passing on Thanksgiving Day, another dear elderly friend, Julian passed away just yesterday morning. Julian was my golf buddy as well going with me on my group Bible studies with his wife, and also traveling with me when I would preach out of town.

Instead of ruining my Christmas this has made it even more meaningful to me.  A song keeps echoing in my heart and mind.“Joy to the World!” One verse especially keeps repeating itself over and over. The third verse, which proclaims the complete power of the gospel. Because of sin we have so many sorrows climaxing with death. But a little baby, lying in a manger about 2,000 years ago came to make His blessings flow as far as the curse is found! Because of Him we will live again! Joy to the world!

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found. –Joy to the World, Issac Watts, 1719.

Christmas in Light of the Cross, Day 14 (Sanctification in Christmas Carols)

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

God rest ye merry, gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
Remember, Christ, our Saviour
Was born on Christmas day
To save us all from Satan’s power
When we were gone astray
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy-Published by William B. Sandys in 1833. Author unknown.

There is some good theology in these older Christmas carols as well as some of the new.

The writer of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” knew the power of the gospel when he (or she) wrote, “To save us all from Satan’s power when we were gone astray.”  By coming to live and die for us, Jesus did way more than just save us from the penalty of sin. He saves us from the power of sin.

The author of “Away in a Manger” (Author unknown) Speaks of sanctification as well as justification.

Bless all the dear children in thy tender care, And fit us for heaven, to live with thee there.

That’s what sanctification is, fitting us for heaven and saving us from Satan’s power. (Some newer versions of this song say “take us to heaven” instead of “fit us for heaven.” Why the change? Conspiracy? LOL!) Today as Seventh-day Adventists study and share the sanctuary message, many scoff at us when it comes to the holy place and most holy place, where sanctification takes place. They want the sanctuary to end in the courtyard where justification takes place, and not go any farther. Yet years before the Adventists ever discovered the “cleansing of the sanctuary” message, these and many other Christmas hymns had an understanding of the complete gospel, and a comprehension of all that Jesus accomplished by His life and death on the cross, and what He can accomplish in our hearts today!

“And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from [From not in!] their sins.” Matthew 1:21 NKJV

This Christmas Season let’s take some time to enjoy and appreciate the wonderful Christmas hymns, celebrating everything Jesus accomplished for us from the manger to the cross!

Christmas in Light of the Cross, Day 13 (God With Us)

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” Matthew 1:23 

By His life and His death, Christ has achieved even more than recovery from the ruin wrought through sin. It was Satan’s purpose to bring about an eternal separation between God and man; but in Christ we become more closely united to God than if we had never fallen. In taking our nature, the Saviour has bound Himself to humanity by a tie that is never to be broken. Through the eternal ages He is linked with us. “God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son.” John 3:16. He gave Him not only to bear our sins, and to die as our sacrifice; He gave Him to the fallen race. To assure us of His immutable counsel of peace, God gave His only-begotten Son to become one of the human family, forever to retain His human nature. This is the pledge that God will fulfill His word. “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder.” God has adopted human nature in the person of His Son, and has carried the same into the highest heaven. It is the “Son of man” who shares the throne of the universe. It is the “Son of man” whose name shall be called, “Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6. The I AM is the Daysman between God and humanity, laying His hand upon both. He who is “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners,” is not ashamed to call us brethren. Hebrews 7:26; 2:11. In Christ the family of earth and the family of heaven are
bound together. Christ glorified is our brother. Heaven is enshrined in humanity, and humanity is enfolded in the bosom of Infinite Love. –Ellen White, Desire of Ages, Pages 25-26

But this great sacrifice was not made in order to create in the Father’s heart a love for man, not to make Him willing to save. No, no! “God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son.” John 3:16. The Father loves us, not because of the great propitiation, but He provided the propitiation because He loves us. Christ was the medium through which He could pour out His infinite love upon a fallen world. “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.” 2 Corinthians 5:19. God suffered with His Son. In the agony of Gethsemane, the death of Calvary, the heart of Infinite Love paid the price of our redemption. –Ellen White, Steps to Christ, Pages 13-14

Christmas in Light of the Cross, Day 12 (Gift Giving)

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Every year I hear someone ask,

“Why do we give each other gifts at Christmas when it is Jesus’ birthday?”

Of course we understand it is not really Jesus’ birthday. As Christians, we are just celebrating the life of Jesus, and taking advantage of the opportunity to share the Savior with the world, like we do every day when given the opportunity.

Still, why do we give gifts to each other when it is not our birthday either? I believe a very simple verse answers this simple question. When Jesus was talking about the sheep being separated from the goats, He said,

“‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters,  you were doing it to me!’” Matthew 25:40 NLT

We all represent Jesus to each other. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:20, NLT

So we are Christ’s ambassadors,

When a nation gives a gift to an ambassador of another country they are really giving that gift to the country that the ambassador represents. Likewise, the way we treat each other represents the way that we are treating Jesus.  That is why John wrote in 1 John 4:7-8,

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.  But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

I will never forget a true story my grandmother shared with me one cold Christmas season. She was outside her house, looking up a small hill, when she saw a little neighbor girl walking down the hill with her doll towards her house. It was freezing and starting to sleet, when the little girl stopped, took off her coat and wrapped the coat around her doll! The little girl then shivered the rest of the way towards her house, holding her doll close to her heart to keep her warm.

My grandmother, and the rest of us were perplexed at the rationale of the girl. It was only a doll and could not feel anything. Maybe the little girl did not know the difference between pretend and reality. Even though it was apparently a foolish deed, I am sure Jesus perceived what was in the little girl’s heart, and the way Jesus looked at it, He was the little doll the girl was taking off her own coat for to keep warm!

Of course I realize it was just a doll, but how much more it must warm the heart of Jesus when He sees us doing kind loving deeds for each other out of love all year long!

As Jesus says,

“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:35 NLT

 

Christmas in Light of the Cross, Day 11 (False Worship)

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking,  “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:1-2 NLT

Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared.  Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!” Matthew 2:7-8 NLT 

When the wise men go to worship Jesus, they were probably surprised to find they were the only ones.  Why were God’s people so lethargic? Then the wise men meet Herod, who tells them he wants to worship too. That must have really encouraged them! Of course, we know Herod’s claim to worship was not sincere. It was very hypocritical. The fact that the wise men were not a part of some big mega church or mega movement did not keep them from worshiping Jesus, even if they were the only ones. The fact that Herod, who claimed to be a worshiper turned out to be phony, did not keep them from seeking Jesus either.

Please don’t let the lethargy that may be in your church, family or community, keep you from seeking Jesus, even if like the wise men, you feel all alone. Please don’t let hypocrites or false worshipers rob you of your joy in finding the Savior!

Wise men still seek Him, even if no one else does!

Christmas in Light of the Cross, Day 10 (Messianic Prophesies Fulfilled)

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

The Prophecies About the Messiah Fulfilled

The place of His birth was prophesied in Micah 5:2

But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

And was fulfilled in  Luke 2:4-7

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

His virgin birth was prophesied in Isaiah 7:14

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

And was fulfilled in Luke 1:26-31

And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus.

The slaughter of the children was prophesied in Jeremiah 31:15

Thus saith the Lord; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.

And was fulfilled in Matthew 2:16-18

 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.

His flight into Egypt was prophesied in Hosea 11:1

When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.

 And was fulfilled in Matthew 2:1415

When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.

The time of His baptism was prophesied in  Daniel 9:2425

Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

And was fulfilled in Luke 3:12122

Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene,

 Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.

(Find the complete study on the Seventy weeks of Daniel 9 and prophecy of the Messiah, and how Jesus met those predictions, here.)

His rejection by the people was prophesied here Isaiah 53:3

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

And was fulfilled in John 1:11

He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

You can find a complete study of the prophesies of the Messiah’s birth and crucifixion here.

There is no question that Jesus existed. No one can deny that. Now that we see that Jesus was a Historical Figure who also met all the prophesies of the Old Testament, long before His birth, we know that the Bible is true and that Jesus was indeed the Messiah and our personal Savior!

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.Revelation 3:20

Christmas in Light of the Cross, Day 9

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

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.