Francis D. Nichol was editor of the Adventist Review. This article was taken from his book Answers to Objections, pp. 352-353.

Each year as Christmas draws near we receive a certain kind of questions. What shall we do about Christmas? Is it wrong to have a Christmas tree?

First, is it wrong to have a Christmas tree? Fortunately, we need not be in doubt on this question. Long ago Mrs. White, the messenger of the Lord, discussed rather fully the subject of our proper relationship to the Christmas season. She states explicitly what we, of course, all know from a study of history, that the date of our Lord's birth cannot be determined. No records of antiquity throw any sure or certain light on this point.

She goes on to say that "the silence of the Scriptures upon this point evidences to us that it is hidden from us for the wisest purposes." And she adds: "There is no divine sanctity resting upon the twenty-fifth of December; and it is not pleasing to God that anything that concerns the salvation of man through the infinite sacrifice made for them, should be so sadly perverted from its professed design. Christ should be the supreme object; but as Christmas has been observed [that is, as it has been observed by the world], the glory is turned from Him to mortal man, whose sinful, defective character made it necessary for Him to come to our world. Review and Herald, Dec. 9, 1884.

After describing the true purpose of Christ's advent to the world, Mrs. White remarks: "Parents should keep these things before their children." But she follows this almost immediately with the statement:

"As the twenty-fifth day 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."

"The youth should be treated very carefully. They should not be left on Christmas to find their own amusement in vanity and pleasure-seeking, in amusements which will be detrimental to their spirituality. Parents can control this matter by turning the minds and the offerings of their children to God and His cause and the salvation of souls."

Applying this principle to the matter of a Christmas tree, she wrote in this same article: "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." Obviously, if a Christmas tree may properly be placed in the Sabbath school room, it may also properly be placed in an Adventist home. That much seems clear beyond all question.

Is it wrong to give gifts?

What Mrs. White goes on to say further regarding a Christmas tree in the Sabbath school carries us directly into the answer to the second question: Is it wrong to give gifts at Christmas time? "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 this innocent amusement and recreation, in devising ways and means to show true respect to Jesus by bringing to Him gifts and offerings. Let every one 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, 'ever green, 1 suggest the holy work of Cod 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 . . ."

"Every tree in Satan's garden hangs laden with the fruits of vanity, pride, self-importance, evil desire, extravagance, all poisoned fruit, but very gratifying to the carnal heart. Let the several churches present to God Christmas trees in every church; and then let them hang thereon the fruits of beneficence and gratitude, offerings coming from willing hearts and hands, fruits that Cod will accept as an expression of our faith and our great love to Him for the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. Let the evergreen be laden with fruit, rich and pure, and holy, acceptable to God. Shall we not have such a Christmas as Heaven can approve?"

She writes at some length on this subject of making gifts to the Lord and then presents this earnest appeal to believers: "Now, brethren, let us on Christmas make special efforts to come before the Lord with gifts and grateful offerings for the gift of Jesus Christ as a Redeemer to the world. Let nothing now be spent needlessly; but let every penny that can be spared be put out to the exchangers. Satan has had his way in managing these occasions to suit himself. Now let us turn the current heavenward instead of earthward. Let us show by our offerings that we appreciate the self-denial and sacrifice of Christ in out behalf. Let God be brought to remembrance by every child and parent; and let the offerings, both small and large, be brought to the storehouse of God."

"You that have means, who have been in the habit of making donations to your relatives and friends until you are at a loss to know what to invent that will be new and interesting to them, seek to put your ingenuity to the test, as well as your influence, to see how much means you may gather to advance the work of the Lord. Let your skill and your capacities be employed to make the coming Christmas one of intense interest, paying your addresses to the Cod of heaven in willing, grateful offerings. Follow no longer the world's customs. Make a break here, and see if this Christmas cannot show thousands of dollars flowing into the treasury, that God's storehouse may not be empty."

"You may not be recompensed on earth, but you will be rewarded in the future life, and that abundantly. Let those who have so long planned for self now begin to plan for the cause of God, and you will certainly have increased wisdom. Let the conscience be enlightened, and the love of truth and of Christ take the place of idolatrous thoughts and love of self. . ."

"Let there be recorded in the heavenly books such a Christmas as has never yet been seen, because of the donations which shall be given for the sustaining of the work of God and the upbuilding of His kingdom."

These inspired words are vigorous, and heartsearching. But does she mean that we ought not to spend any money for gifts to loved ones at the Christmas season? We think not. Let us look again at the quotations just given.

Francis D. Nichol. Taken from Questions People Have Asked Me, pp. 52-54.

Francis D. Nichol was editor of the Adventist Review. This article was taken from his book Answers to Objections, pp. 352-353.