Why do Seventh Adventists not celebrate birthdays?
Should Seventh-day Adventists Celebrate Christmas?
I have met many Adventists who were in any way opposed to celebrating Christmas. For some it was the thought that Christmas was not found in scriptures and that it became a Christian tradition as a substitute for some pagan festivals. Others have seen the world celebrate this festival and have been appalled by the coercion, vanity and excess that can often be seen at Christmas. While these are legitimate concerns, I have always been intrigued by what Ellen White had to say on the subject.
"Since December 25th is celebrated to commemorate the birth of Christ, and since the children have been taught by command and example that this was indeed a day of joy and glee, it will be difficult for you to simply pass this time without paying attention to it in any way. This can be done very beneficially. " - Adventist Home, 478.
"The holiday season quickly comes back with its presents, and old and young are now busily thinking about what could be given to friends as a token of affection. It's nice to have
People we love to receive a gift, however small it may be. It assures us that
we have not been forgotten and the bond around us and our friends seems to be a little closer
tie. It is good to give tokens of love and memory to one another, if we do not forget God who is our best friend. We should choose gifts that are really useful to those who receive them. I would recommend books here that are an aid to understanding the word of God or also increase our love for the commandments of the scriptures. Give something to read for those long winter evenings. "- Adventist Home, 479.
"God would be very pleased if there was a Christmas tree in every church for Christmas, on which small and large offerings for these houses of worship were hung. We receive letters in which the question is asked," Should we have a Christmas tree? Wouldn't it be worldly? " Our answer is: You can do it just like the world if you have the inclination; but you can also do it very differently from the world. " - Adventist Home, 482.
Let's be clear, Jesus was very likely not born on December 25th. The Bible tells us nothing about the exact date of Christ's birth. It didn't even begin at the beginning of AD 1. took place, but very likely not until 4 BC. And yes, I think it is likely that the Christmas date was chosen to replace a pagan festival.
So if it's not your real date of birth, why celebrate it? What is really true is the birth of Christ. And while we haven't been told exactly when this event took place, we know it's worth celebrating. The angels sang, the shepherds worshiped, and God himself used the heavens to direct all who were really looking to Bethlehem. (Well, the wise men did not arrive exactly at the time of the birth of Christ, but not long after - Compare Mt 2, 7.16 and Lk 2, 21-24)
Truly, the incarnation of God, becoming his flesh, is an extraordinary and unique insight into the character of God. "He, who was in divine form, did not consider it a robbery to be equal to God, but emptied himself and assumed the form of a servant, was like men and recognized as man in appearance." (Phil 2, 6-7). “And the angel said to them: Do not be afraid! Behold, I bring you good news of great joy, which will be to all people; for to you today the Savior is born, who is the Lord Christ, in the city of David. " (Luke 2: 10-11). If the joy of the birth of Christ applies to all people, then it is appropriate to commemorate it with a celebration. Some argue that Christ's death and resurrection are more important than his birth when it comes to relating to salvation history. But comparing the meaning of these events is like asking which of the wings a bird needs to fly. Jesus couldn't die for us without becoming one of us. And there are aspects of God's character that are expressed through the Incarnation: limitless generosity, love, and humility. Having a day the church commemorates and shows what the love of God is like seems like a very appropriate response to what He has done for us.
What should we do at Christmas now?
The first coming of Christ was joy for the world - so we should be joyful in remembrance of it. It was an undeserved gift to humanity - so it is perhaps not too far-reaching to give undeserved gifts to our fellow human beings. It was also a gift to the poor and very needy - so it would be in the spirit of Christmas to help the poor. (It is important to help the poor at all times, though. Especially not at Christmas, because everyone helps the poor at Christmas.) It was an event proclaimed by shepherds and wise men - perhaps it is still a good preaching opportunity today.
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