May we celebrate Christmas?
I will copy for you some of Mrs. White’s statements bearing on Christmas. [These quotations come from the Ellen G. White Estate paper, “A Group of Statements From the Pen of Ellen G. White Regarding Holiday Gifts and the Observance of Christmas.” The paper, which contains much more on Christmas, is accessible on the White Estate Web Digital Resource Center site. See also The Adventist Home, pp. 477–483.]
Christmas is coming. May you all have wisdom to make it a precious season. Let the older church members unite, heart and soul, with their children in their innocent amusement and recreation, in devising ways and means to show true respect to Jesus by bringing to Him gifts and offerings. Let everyone remember the claims of God. His cause cannot go forward without your aid. Let the gifts you have usually bestowed upon one another be placed in the Lord’s treasury. . . . In every church let your smaller offerings be placed upon your Christmas tree. Let the precious emblem “evergreen” suggest the holy work of God and His beneficence to us; and the loving heart-work will be to save other souls who are in darkness. Let your works be in accordance with your faith (Review and Herald, December 9, 1884).
The holiday season is fast approaching with its interchange of gifts, and old and young are intently studying what they can bestow upon their friends as a token of affectionate remembrance. It is pleasant to receive a gift, however small, from those we love. It is an assurance that we are not forgotten, and seems to bind us to them a little closer.
Brethren and sisters, while you are devising gifts for one another, I would remind you of our heavenly Friend, lest you should be unmindful of His claims. Will He not be pleased if we show that we have not forgotten Him? Jesus, the Prince of Life, gave all to bring salvation within our reach. . . . He suffered even unto death, that He might give us eternal life. . . .
Shall not our heavenly Benefactor share in the tokens of our gratitude and love? Come, brethren and sisters, come with your children, even the babes in your arms, and bring your offerings to God according to your ability. . . . Let us, upon the coming Christmas and New Year’s festivals, not only make an offering to God of our means, but give ourselves unreservedly to Him, a living sacrifice. . . .
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 Year’s 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. I would recommend such books as will be an aid in understanding the Word of God, or that will increase our love for its precepts (Review and Herald, December 26, 1882).
See also the following question and answer.