“Christmas Not Pagan?” SDAs Who Celebrate Christmas Should Also Honor Sunday

December 25, 2018


If a Seventh-day Adventist were asked whether or not Seventh-day Adventists should recognize Sunday as a holy day to be set aside for worship, the answer would be a resounding, emphatic “no.”   The supporting reasons would surely follow. Firstly, God sanctified and set aside only one day of the week as His holy day to be observed, and that is the seventh day of the week.  (see Genesis 2: 2 and 3). Secondly, God commands us to remember the seventh day of the week, the Sabbath, not the first day of the week (Exodus 20:8-11). Thirdly, the observance of Sunday is a commandment of men, not of God.  The Roman Catholic Church boastfully admits and claims in the Convert’s Catechism of Catholic Doctrine to have the authority to have transferred the solemnity of the seventh day of the week to the first day (as brought to view in Daniel 7:25). They further assert that Roman Catholicism has the power to command feasts and holy days because  of its act of changing the Sabbath into Sunday, which Protestants allow of; and therefore Protestants contradict themselves, by keeping Sunday strictly, and breaking most other feasts commanded by the same church. In other words, it makes no sense for Protestants to keep Sunday if they are not keeping other “holy” feasts ordained by Roman Catholicism. The opposite would hold true as well.  


However, if Seventh-day Adventists were posed the question as to whether or not they should observe Christmas, sadly most would not have as clear cut or Biblical an answer as they had regarding the Sabbath question.  There would be divergent views and a myriad of opinions and justifications from many of them.



Some would even say that it is a matter of conscience, something that the General Conference President of Seventh-day Adventists said when asked the question as to whether or not Seventh-day Adventists should observe Christmas.  Furthermore, around this time of year in the churches and schools throughout Adventism are celebrations of Christmas and special Christmas addresses from the pulpits and from the denominational leaders. What message does it send to the world and those not of this faith, when Seventh-day Adventists are willing to overlook the Pagan origins of Christmas, dismiss Jeremiah 10:1-5 and celebrate Christmas in their churches and in their homes, while some in the world do not even celebrate it? Could this be a another reason that many of them reject the Three Angels’ Messages when it is presented to them?    


Since Seventh-day Adventists categorically deny the  Roman Catholic Church’s assumption of authority to change God’s times and laws, and urge this act as one of the identifying marks of it being the anti-Christ, the man of sin, it would be consistent for them to also utterly reject Christmas and everything associated with it (or any other Roman Catholic “holy” day) because they rest on the same foundation—the authority of Roman Catholicism.  Every recognition of Christmas by professed Protestants is justly regarded by Rome as a tribute to her influence, and in the almost universal observance of Sunday by professed Protestants she sees the hope of return of her ancient supremacy.


It is sad that while the Seventh-day Adventist denomination can identify the beast, the little horn, of Daniel 7 as Popery by its changing of the fourth commandment, but yet can defend Christmas, an invention of the Papacy, while dismissing its clearly pagan origins.  On the official website of the Seventh-day Adventist Denomination, the following can be read: 0“Today, we know Jesus wasn't born on Christmas day, but the church choose to celebrate it on this day. Even though they didn't know the real date of Jesus' birth, early Christians -- following Jewish traditions -- choose a date to celebrate the fact God loved the world enough to send his Son as a baby. This date had no connection to pagan gods or ideas -- these were invented years later. So how should Seventh-day Adventists respond to Christmas? First, we should understand that it is not a pagan festival ‘borrowed’ by Christians. Rather, it is a very early Christian memorial.”



On the same website, in another article, Angel Manuel Rodriguez, former director of the Biblical Research Institute, wrote: “Every year I receive letters or phone calls asking whether it is correct for Adventists to celebrate Christmas…Before I comment on the question, let me clarify that Adventists are not, nor should we be, against Christmas. Why would we be against a period of time when Christians remember the birth of our Savior?”


The article referenced above goes on to relate the indisputable fact that Christmas is a “holy” day of the  Roman Catholic Church’s appointing. “It is well known that the term ‘Christmas' is derived from the old English word ‘Christmesse,’ which means ‘Christ’s Mass.’ The term originated during the Middle Ages from the practice of having a midnight Mass on the eve of December 25 to celebrate the birth of Christ.” It is inconceivable that Mr. Rodriguez, the author, after understanding and acknowledging that Christmas is derived from Roman Catholicism, could justify Seventh-day Adventists honoring Christmas.  


What is even more reprehensible is that Seventh-day Adventists are urging others to attend Sunday Mass during the Christmas season. Read the following from a Secular Newspaper in the UK, promoted by the Seventh-day Adventist Church and weep: “Church attendance in the UK has been in steady decline for the past few decades. But nevertheless, many will have reason – be it family obligation, or a desire to offer respect to a usually-unconsidered God – to head to their local service for Midnight Mass or a Christmas Day service. Whether or not you are a believer, the act of attending mass at Christmas offers the opportunity to step away from the more frivolous, superficial trappings of the season to ponder more important matters…Feel free to take communion. Make the sign of the cross after you’ve received it. Catholic? Best not to, as a sign of respect…Midnight mass: Can be a misnomer. Research ahead of attendance – it may be earlier in the evening.” The article ends by providing a link to the official Hemel Hempstead Seventh-day Adventist website. 



We will here make a slight deviation to address the false claim presented on the Adventist News Network  that neither Christmas nor December 25 have anything to do with pagan gods or ideas.  Even a cursory research of Christmas, December 25 and all of the traditions and symbols associated with it, indicate irrefutably that Christmas is indeed pagan and was baptized or “Christianized” by Roman Catholicism, just as the observance of Sunday. Christmas, though under a different name, was observed as a festival by the heathen long before its adoption by the Christian church, so Sunday was from the earliest ages a heathen festival day. It must be remembered that it was Pagan Rome that gave rise to the Papacy (see Daniel 7:7 and 8 and  Revelation 13:1 and 2), therefore Roman Catholicism is an extension, adaptation or mutation of Pagan Rome. The observance of Sunday and that of Christmas have a lot to do with each other and have two common denominators, Emperor Constantine and the pagan worship of the sun.  



It is well known that Constantine, who was interestingly baptized on Christmas Day in the year 496, endeavored to merge Pagan traditions with Christianity. During Constantine’s times, various pagan winter festivals associated with the Winter Solstice were celebrated in the month of December in honor of pagan gods such as Saturn and the birth of Mithras. Constantine fused a lot of the traditions from these festivals with the story of Christ’s birth, and hence, Christ Mass was born. 



From EJ Waggoner we read: “Both Christmas and Sunday are festivals connected with sun worship. Numerous citations might be given, but our space admits of only that which is very direct. Of Constantine's Sunday law Dean Milman ('History of Christianity,' Book iii.) says: ‘The rescript commanding the celebration of the Christian Sabbath bears no allusion to its peculiar sanctity as a Christian institution. It is the day of the sun, which is to be observed by the general veneration.‘The venerable day of the sun’ is the title by which Constantine referred to the day-a title which shows its ancient connection with sun worship. It was very natural that he should not allude to ‘its peculiar sanctity as a Christian institution,’ for it had none…Unquestionably the first law, either ecclesiastical or civil, by which the Sabbatical observance of that day is known to have been ordained, is the edict of Constantine, 321 A.D…’ As to the Christmas festival, we quote from Dr. Philips Schaff, who states the case very concisely: ‘The Christmas festival was probably the Christian transformation or regeneration of a series of kindred heathen festivals-the Saturnalia, Sigillaria, Juvenalia, and Brumalia-which were kept in Rome in the month of December, in commemoration of the golden age of universal freedom and equality, and in honour of the unconquered sun, and which were great holidays, especially for slaves and children…’”  “So we have Christmas, a purely heathen festival, firmly fixed in the Church. When so much of sun worship had been adopted, it was but a short step to the adoption of Sunday, 'the venerable day of the sun.’”  Much more can be said on the connection between Paganism, Sunday and Christmas, however, we urge the reader to look up the references provided and continue to study.  


Students of Bible prophecy can discern by the rapid fulfillment of the signs of the times that a National Sunday Law is imminent, wherein, individuals will be compelled, on pain of fines, imprisonment and even death to honor the Sunday. We will here explore the connection between the establishment of Christmas as a legal holiday with the implementation of the National Sunday Law by quoting from Seventh-day Adventist pioneer and historian Alonzo T. Jones.




“Anyone familiar with the history of Sunday legislation can easily see the exact parallel which will be furnished by the development of Christmas into a legal ‘holy day,’ with the development of the legal ‘sabbath.' First appears the fact that the holiday is made an occasion of unusual lawlessness. This has long been the case with Sunday. For reasons which require no great study to understand, Sunday has long contributed more cases for the police court dockets than any other day of the week. To this fact the champions of Sunday have long been calling public attention; and that this Sunday lawlessness was exceedingly bad and demanded a remedy, could not be denied. And the ‘remedy' proposed and in many instances secured, was a stricter law for Sunday observance…By the same logic these ‘holy days’ stand or fall together…There is no reason why people should not be required to behave themselves as well on Sunday, Christmas, or any legal holiday, as on any other day of the year; and there is no reason why they should not be required to conduct themselves as decently on every day as on these days. There can be no reason whatever for making Christmas, Sunday, or Thanksgiving legally different from other days in this respect.”  Since, Roman Catholic annual holidays such as Christmas are already legal in most countries, can one really doubt that Sunday will again  be enforced as a weekly legal holiday? In most states the Sunday Blue Laws are still on the books. 


It is astounding that after comprehending the abundance of information concerning the customs/traditions of the early church regarding Christmas, that individuals, even Seventh-day Adventists will still continue to observe it. To such we would say, there is another "holy day" which you must by no means disregard since you so readily have accepted Christ Mass, and that is Sunday, as it is based on the same foundation as is Christmas.The contrary is true, if you reject Sunday observance and Roman Catholicism’s claim to authority, you should certainly denounce and renounce any observance of Christmas, for it has the same originator. To accept one, is to accept the other; to reject one, is to reject the other. Again, just as clearly and unapologetically as Seventh-day Adventists reject Sunday observance, they must likewise reject the celebration of Christmas!



In order to deceive Christians, into observing Sunday, the Roman Catholic Church urges Sunday observance in commemoration of the resurrection of Christ, of which there is no scriptural authority to back.  Likewise, Roman Catholicism claims that Christmas, December 25 is the birth of Christ and should be honored, again without any scriptural authority. Just as Christ has not told us to celebrate his resurrection by observing the first day as holy (to the neglect of his commandments), he has neither enjoined the honoring of the day of Christ’s birth, and that is why the exact date has been concealed. There is only one day that man should regard as holy and that is the Seventh-day Sabbath. Besides, the only mention of birthdays in scripture are Pharaoh’s (Genesis 40:20-23) and Herod’s (Matthew 14:6-12), heathen rulers; and connected with their birthdays was not only revelry and drunkenness but also murder. Regarding any day as holy other than God’s seventh day Sabbath is an acknowledgment of the authority, and an act of homage to whoever consecrated that day, and in the cases of Sunday and Christmas, it is the Roman Catholic Church. As Sunday, Christmas is another child of the Papacy.


1. https://perspectives.adventist.org/en/questions-answers/questions/go/2015-12-24/do-adventists-celebrate-christmas/

2. https://news.adventist.org/en/all-commentaries/commentary/go/-/is-christmas-pagan-christian-or-just-convenient/

3. https://www.nadadventist.org/news/should-adventists-celebrate-christmas

4. Ibid

5. https://www.hemeltoday.co.uk/sponsored?mvi=a0b407c684214969b9bae4cc0f1de86a&fbclid=IwAR18roottPrS50EO0a-_sueFQR2GBCHJpMkRtzHUANs7BUNplfDMFgl1beU

6. The Present Truth, Volume 14, [UK]. Ellet J. Waggoner. January 6, 1898.

7. The Present Truth, Volume 15, [UK]. Ellet J. Waggoner. June 29, 1899.

8. The American Sentinel 12. Alonzo T. Jones. February 4, 1897




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