The Danger of Attacking the Christmas Tree

imprrh@gmail.com —  December 20, 2014

If you have grown in the Adventist church you probably have encountered people that are very strident in their views regarding the Christmas tree. Using faulty logic, questionable internet searches and often relying on other’s opinions and not a personal study, they attack the Christmas tree calling it pagan and abominable. In a church I am familiar with, a member not only spoke out against it, but when the board and pastor put one in the sanctuary, he became so infuriated that he went to church during the week and threw it in the trash.

Now, I get the concern for purity and wholeness that drives some individuals to reject everything that has pagan connotations, but there is a single, significant problem comprised of three words:

Ellen. G. White.

She wrote concerning the Christmas tree, and it was not to condemn it! Here are some quotes:

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.

On Christmas, so soon to come, let not the parents take the position that an evergreen placed in the church for the amusement of the Sabbath school scholars is a sin; for it may be made a great blessing.

.Review and Herald, December 9, 1884. (Portion in The Adventist Home , pp. 477-483).

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 the actions 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.

Review and Herald, December 11, 1879.

Here are three short thoughts to consider:

1. Demonizing a tree sets you up for greater concerns down the road. Hear me out on this. If you are going to go against a clear statement on THIS issue, don’t be surprised when others go against her on OTHER issues. Can’t have your cake and eat it too. You can’t pick what you want and reject what doesn’t fit your world view. I have this thing about being Adventist. If my church considers Christmas ok, has trees in the GC and a president sending greetings, its hard for me to say: “Nope. I know better”.  http://www.bing.com/videos/search? q=ted+wilson+christmas+message&FORM=VIRE1#view=detail&mid=E6DF9A16F5A766904E5DE6DF9A16F5A766904E5D

2. Use the season to share Jesus. In an increasingly secular society, Christmas remains popular and can and should be used to share your blessed hope. Rejecting a tree and having a cow about its pagan origins doesn’t make us different, it makes us weird.

3. Your family can bless others. Here is something we did in our home this year.

*We tithed our clothes. We take around 10% of our clothes to Cuba.

*We shared gift baskets with our neighbors.

*Our kids received some cash. 10% was dedicated to projects that benefits people that can’t pay them back.

 

Let’s stay balanced and use this time to share Jesus.

 

imprrh@gmail.com

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5 responses to The Danger of Attacking the Christmas Tree

  1. Thank you… Would be interested in your thoughts on anything associated with Easter when it comes to be that time, and the just as vehement insistence I have seen that we completely ignore doing anything then due to the anti-anything-paganish lobby.

  2. I really had a problem with the tree because the pagans worship it as a symbol of everlasting life. That alone makes me cringe because making a plant a symbol of everlasting life instead of Jesus and His gift to us is conflicting to say the least. But that quote you mentioned about making it unlike the world… I read that a long time ago and made me think differently. I guess the question is “What makes an evergreen like the world?” I’ve seen many churches decorate it as if it were a god itself. But I really like it when a church uses it to collect offerings or provide names on tags for members to help out during Christmas time.

    Also, teaching about Santa is a diversion from thinking about Jesus around Christmas. I don’t criticize people for doing otherwise… I just choose to do things differently in my home. But I was told very recently that because I wouldn’t lie about Santa, I would deprive my children (if I had any) of imagination. Really???

    So instead of buying presents for family and friends during Christmas, we help out people or organizations that need an extra boost. We don’t teach Jesus was born at Christmas. We remind people of the gift of Jesus that we have received is the best present ever. We don’t avoid the holiday. We use this holiday season for the best reason to talk about the Gift.

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