Christmas Celebration and Decorations

 

††† ďAt the close of my long journey East, I reached my home in time to spend New Year's eve in Healdsburg. The College hall had been fitted up for a Sabbath-school reunion. Cypress wreaths, autumn leaves, evergreens, and flowers were tastefully arranged; and a large bell of evergreens hung from the arched doorway at the entrance to the room. The tree was well loaded with donations, which were to be used for the benefit of the poor, and to help purchase a bell. Except in a few instances, the names of the donors were not given; but appropriate Bible texts and mottoes were read as the gifts were taken down from the tree. On this occasion nothing was said or done that need burden the conscience of any one.Ē {RH, January 29, 1884 par. 1}†††

 

 

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Dear Friends,

 

Ellen White approved of Christmas trees laden with gifts of monetary offerings to Christ and other Christmas decorations. We do not use Christmas trees, but I have a beautiful display of artificial silk poinsettias we set out because we love the beauty of that plant which blooms in the winter season. Having grown up in Florida where I grew them, I miss the real thing. We keep those displays in plastic bags and use them from year to year. The Lord and my close friends know that they are the only things that we possess which I have sometimes referred to as Christmas decorations. Those who know us intimately know that we do not celebrate Christmas. We display these poinsettias for a little color during the winter time. However, we did not even display those this year as members of our group church can testify.

 

Note: This is an update for February 14, 2012. We have not used the pointsettias arrangement for a number of years now, but not because we view this as wrong.

 

Some individuals are so severe and legalistic in their religious exercises that when their children are of age, they flee the homes where such lack of love and severe discipline replace the love of Christ. I remind you, Ellen White said that it would be unwise to not recognize Christmas.

 

I know far too many SDA youth who gave/give up the church because of unfounded and fanatical legalistic restrictions of their parents. Ellen White said it would be a mistake to ignore Christmas. Yet, there are always those who think themselves wiser than the gift of the Holy Spirit to the church. Though I personally do not celebrate Christmas, I believe in taking all the testimony of Ellen White on this issue, yet I am castigated by some whose lack of love is more indicative of Satanís spirit than Christís.

 

I donít wear a wedding ring, yet Ellen White approved of such in some countries of the world. Though the ring is a symbol of the sun, it has other connotations, as does Christmas, that are not pagan. The Holy Sabbath seventh-day is celebrated by some as a pagan worship day, worshipping Saturn. But we donít discard the true meaning of the Sabbath because some choose to celebrate it in a pagan way.

 

Sister White Sends a Christmas Present: ďI have for some reason felt anxious for you. I expected to find a letter from you here at Enosburg but was disappointed. I sent you a Christmas present. Let me hear from you.Ē††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† -129- {3MR 128.3}

 

†††† ďDo not neglect to watch and pray. I have risen early to write to you. I am very anxious that you should succeed in the Christian warfare. The eyes of angels are upon you constantly. Seek to do good. Help those who need help. Pray much, this is your strength.Ē {3MR 129.1}

 

 

  "The Rasmussens had several children and a sister-in-law living with them. The latter had lived in Battle Creek years before and had met Ellen White there. She had thoroughly prepared her nephews, the Rasmussen boys, to dread the visit of the prophet. Her philosophy was that it was a sin for children to play with toys or laugh, and claimed that Sister White backed up her cheerless views. {5BIO 139.3}
         The boys were amazed when
Ellen White on meeting them, turned to her son and asked, "Willie, where are those things for the boys?" Willie produced two packages, each containing a toy train. The boys were delighted, and no doubt were careful to display them for their aunt's benefit! Ellen and Willie enjoyed a good meal at the Rasmussens' and Kings', topped off with one of Mrs. Rasmussen's Danish Christmas cakes, which Willie enjoyed so much that he asked for the recipe. He spiced the meal with a few interesting and humorous stories. At first the Rasmussen boys were afraid to laugh, but when they saw Ellen White smile and heard Elder White laugh at his own stories, they soon joined in. Sister White had no objection to a little sensible humor. Loud, hilarious laughter she detested.Ē {5BIO 139.4}

 

Some have errantly thought that there is nothing in Scripture to celebrate Christís birthday, but the wise men brought gifts to Christ at His birth. I realize that December 25th is not Christís birthday, but it is generally recognized as such. Though no one knows the exact date of Christís birth, Ellen White saw nothing remiss in recognizing Christmas and using it for good purposes. I agree with her and the following Scriptures:

 

The wise men who honored Christís birth day were not pagans. Some say His birthday was never recognized. That is not truth. That Lord has shown this writer that Ellen White gave a balanced view on the Christmas issue, in using it for good.

 

Matthew 2

1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, Wise-men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying,

 

2 Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we saw his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

 

3 And when Herod the king heard it, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

 

4 And gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ should be born.

 

5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written through the prophet,

 

6 And thou Bethlehem, land of Judah, Art in no wise least among the princes of Judah: For out of thee shall come forth a governor, Who shall be shepherd of my people Israel.

 

7 Then Herod privily called the Wise-men, and learned of them exactly what time the star appeared.

 

8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search out exactly concerning the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word, that I also may come and worship him.

 

9 And they, having heard the king, went their way; and lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.

 

10 And when they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

 

11 And they came into the house and saw the young child with Mary his mother; and they fell down and worshipped him; and opening their treasures they offered unto him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.

 

12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

 

13 Now when they were departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I tell thee: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.

 

14 And he arose and took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt;

 

15 and was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt did I call my son.

 

16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the Wise-men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the male children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the borders thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had exactly learned of the Wise-men.

 

17 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet, saying,

 

18 A voice was heard in Ramah, Weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; And she would not be comforted, because they are not.

 

19 But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying,

 

20 Arise and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead that sought the young child's life.

 

21 And he arose and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel.

 

22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither; and being warned of God in a dream, he withdrew into the parts of Galilee,

 

23 and came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through the prophets, that he should be called a Nazarene.

 

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