God and christmas

November 21, 1878 Holiday Presents.
By Mrs. E. G. White.
     The holidays are approaching. In view of this fact, it will be well to consider how much money is expended yearly in making presents to those who have no need of them. The habits of custom are so strong that to withhold gifts from our friends on these occasions would seem to us almost a neglect of them. But let us remember that our kind heavenly Benefactor has claims upon us far superior to those of any earthly friend. Shall we not, during the coming holidays, present our offerings to God? Even the children may participate in this work. Clothing and other useful articles may be given to the worthy poor, and thus a work may be done for the Master.  [RH, November 21, 1878 par. 1]  
     Let us remember that Christmas is celebrated in commemoration of the birth of the world’s Redeemer. This day is generally spent in feasting and gluttony. Large sums of money are spent in needless self-indulgence. The appetite and sensual pleasures are indulged at the expense of physical, mental, and moral power. Yet this has become a habit. Pride, fashion, and gratification of the palate, have swallowed up immense sums of money that have really benefited no one, but have encouraged a prodigality of means which is displeasing to God. These days are spent in glorifying self rather than God. Health has been sacrificed, money worse than thrown away, many have lost their lives by overeating or through demoralizing dissipation, and souls have been lost by this means.  [RH, November 21, 1878 par. 2]  
     God would be glorified by his children should they enjoy a plain, simple diet, and use the means intrusted to them in bringing to his treasury offerings, small and great, to be used in sending the light of truth to souls that are in the darkness of error. The hearts of the widow and fatherless may be made to rejoice because of gifts which will add to their comfort and satisfy their hunger.  [RH, November 21, 1878 par. 3]  
     Let all who profess to believe the present truth calculate how much they spend yearly, and especially upon the recurrence of the annual holidays, for the gratification of selfish and unholy desires, how much in the indulgence of appetite, and how much to compete with others in unchristian display. Sum up the means thus spent all needlessly, and then estimate how much might be saved as consecrated gifts to God’s cause without injury to soul or body. Mites and more liberal gifts may be brought in, according to the ability of the giver, to aid in lifting debts from churches which have been dedicated to God. Then there are missionaries to be sent into new fields, and others to be supported in their respective fields of labor. These missionaries have to practice the strictest economy, even denying themselves the very things you enjoy daily, and which you consider the necessaries of life. They enjoy few luxuries.  [RH, November 21, 1878 par. 4]
December 11, 1879 The Holidays.
     We are rapidly approaching the season of the holidays, and many conscientious ones are now questioning what course they may pursue that will be pleasing in the sight of God. By the world the holidays are spent in frivolity and extravagance, gluttony and display. It is the prevailing custom at this time to make and receive presents. And it is no small burden upon the mind to know how to distribute these gifts among friends so that none will feel slighted. It is a fact that much envy and jealousy are often created by this custom of making presents.  [RH, December 11, 1879 par. 1]  
     Thousands of dollars will be worse than thrown away upon the coming Christmas and New Year’s in needless indulgences. But it is our privilege to depart from the customs and practices of this degenerate age; and instead of expending means merely for the gratification of the appetite, or for needless ornaments or articles of clothing, we may make the coming holidays an occasion in which to honor and glorify God.  [RH, December 11, 1879 par. 2]  
     We advise all our brethren and sisters to make a decided reform in regard to these festal days. Those who appreciate the gift of God’s dear Son to save them from ruin, now have a favorable opportunity to give tangible proofs of their gratitude by rendering to God their thank-offerings. Let old and young lay aside their mites as sacred offerings to God. If we would give to the cause of our Redeemer one-half as much as we have bestowed upon our friends, we would do much good and receive a blessing for giving.  [RH, December 11, 1879 par. 3]  
     Let us seek to faithfully represent Christ on the coming festal days by imitating his example as he went about doing good. It is impossible to enjoy the approbation of God while living for self. As Christians who profess a living faith in the near coming of the Son of man, keeping all of God’s commandments, let us make earnest efforts to draw near to God through Jesus Christ, and make a covenant with him by sacrifice. In our principles of action we must be elevated above the customs and fashions of the world. Christ came to our world to elevate the minds of men to the divine level, and to bring them into sympathy with the mind of God.  [RH, December 11, 1879 par. 4]  
     As every blessing we enjoy is brought to us through the condescension, humiliation, and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we should render to him our best gifts, above all not withholding ourselves. The infinite sacrifice which Christ has made to free us from the guilt and woe of sin, should work in every heart a spirit of gratitude and self-denial which is not manifested by the world. God’s gift of Christ to man filled all Heaven with amazement, and inspired at his birth the angelic song, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”  [RH, December 11, 1879 par. 5]  
     Christmas day, precious reminder of the sacrifice made in man’s behalf, should not be devoted to gluttony and self-indulgence, thus exalting the creature above the Creator. Let us who are partakers of this great salvation show that we have some appreciation of the gift, by rendering to God our thank-offerings. If we would indulge less in feasting and merriment upon these occasions, and instead make them the means of benefiting humanity, we should better meet the mind of God. It is a pleasure and gratification to exchange gifts with our friends; but are there not nobler and more glorious objects for which we may give our means, and thus do good by shedding light upon the pathway of others?  [RH, December 11, 1879 par. 6]  
     There are many who have not books and publications upon present truth. Here is a large field where money can be safely invested. There are large numbers of little ones who should be supplied with reading. The Sunshine Series, Golden Grains Series, Poems, Sabbath Readings, etc., are all precious books, and may be introduced safely into every family. The many trifles usually spent in candies and useless toys, may be treasured up with which to buy these volumes.  [RH, December 11, 1879 par. 7]  
     Children need proper reading, which will afford amusement and recreation, and not demoralize the mind or weary the body. If they are taught to love romance and newspaper tales, instructive books and papers will become distasteful to them. Most children and young people will have reading matter; and if it is not selected for them, they will select it for themselves. They can find a ruinous quality of reading anywhere, and they soon learn to love it; but if pure and good reading is furnished them, they will cultivate a taste for that.  [RH, December 11, 1879 par. 8]  
     Especial efforts should be made to exclude from our homes that class of literature which can have no beneficial influence upon our children. Many times I have been pained to find upon the tables or in the book-cases of Sabbath-keepers, papers and books full of romance, which their children were eagerly perusing.  [RH, December 11, 1879 par. 9]  
     There are those who profess to be brethren who do not take the Review, Signs, Instructor, or Good Health, but take one or more secular papers. Their children are deeply interested in reading the fictitious tales and love stories which are found in these papers, and which their father can afford to pay for, although claiming that he cannot afford to pay for our periodicals and publications on present truth. Thus parents are educating the taste of their children to greedily devour the sickly, sensational stories found in newspaper columns. All such reading is poisonous; it leaves a stain upon the soul, and encourages a love for cheap reading which will debase the morals and ruin the mind.  [RH, December 11, 1879 par. 10]  
     Parents should guard their children, and teach them to cultivate a pure imagination and to shun, as they would a leper, the love-sick pen pictures presented in newspapers. Let publications upon moral and religious subjects be found on your tables and in your libraries, that your children may cultivate a taste for elevated reading. Let those who wish to make valuable presents to their children, grandchildren, nephews, and nieces, procure for them the children’s books mentioned above. For young people, the Life of Joseph Bates is a treasure; also the three volumes of Spirit of Prophecy. These volumes should be placed in every family in the land. God is giving light from Heaven, and not a family should be without it. Let the presents you shall make be of that order which will shed beams of light upon the pathway to Heaven.  [RH, December 11, 1879 par. 11]  
     Anciently the children of Israel were commanded to keep three annual feasts each year: the Passover, the Feast of Tabernacles, and the Feast of Weeks. The Lord gave directions that on these occasions their gifts and offerings were to be consecrated to him, and none should appear before him empty-handed. But in our day it has become fashionable to observe these festal occasions in a manner that would divert the mind from God instead of bringing glory to his name. Those whom God has blessed with prosperity should acknowledge the Giver, and feel that where much is given much will be required.  [RH, December 11, 1879 par. 12]  
     Our holidays have been perverted from their intended use. Gifts are lavished upon one another, and praise which should have been given to God, to whom all these things belong, is bestowed upon poor mortals.  [RH, December 11, 1879 par. 13]  
     Our houses of worship in Oakland and Battle Creek are under the pressure of debt. The Dime Tabernacle belongs to us all; we should all have a special interest in it. In order to accommodate the students at the College, the patients at the Sanitarium, the laborers at the Office, and the large number of worshipers constantly coming in from abroad, the erection of this spacious house of worship was a positive necessity. Great responsibilities rest upon those at Battle Creek, and also upon those whose arms should be reached out to sustain these interests at the great heart of the work. Not in all the world is there a battle field for truth and reform like this. Great interests are involved here. The Sabbath-school and College are educating the young, and determining the future destiny of souls. There is here a continual necessity of devising ways and means for the advancement of truth and the conversion of souls. Our people are not half awake to the demands of the times. The voice of Providence is calling upon all who have the love of God in their hearts to arouse to this great emergency. Never was there a time when so much was at stake as today. Never was there a period in which greater energy and self-sacrifice were demanded from God’s commandment- keeping people.  [RH, December 11, 1879 par. 14]
     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 intrusted 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 to action, and the use which is made of the gifts placed upon the tree.  [RH, December 11, 1879 par. 15]  
     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. Let your donations be sanctified by prayer, and let the fruit upon this consecrated tree be applied toward removing the debts from our houses of worship at Battle Creek, Mich., and Oakland, Cal.  [RH, December 11, 1879 par. 16]  
     A word to the wise is sufficient.
                                                                E. G. W.  [RH, December 11, 1879 par. 17]  
January 3, 1882 A Happy New Year.
By Mrs. E. G. White
     “I wish you a happy New Year,” will soon be repeated far and near, by parents and children, brothers and sisters, acquaintances and friends. In a world like ours, this New Year’s greeting seems far more appropriate than the Merry Christmas so lately echoed from lip to lip. On every hand are pale faces, brows furrowed with pain and care, or forms bowed with age. Wherever we turn may be seen the garb of mourning. The suffering, the care-worn, and the aged can no longer be merry. In many a household there is a vacant chair; a beloved child, a husband and father, whose presence gladdened the last Christmas and New Year’s festivity, is gone from the circle. A merry Christmas seems a mockery to that bereaved family.  [RH, January 3, 1882 par. 1]  
     But whatever the cares and sorrows of life, whatever the mistakes and errors of the past, the “Happy New Year,” when uttered as an expression of love or respect, falls pleasantly upon the ear. And yet, are not these kindly wishes often forgotten with the utterance? How often we fail to carry their import into the daily life, and thus to aid in their fulfillment. The New Year’s greeting is frequently uttered by insincere lips, from hearts that would not forego one selfish gratification in order to make other’s happy. Recipients of gifts and favors every new year, many accept these as their due. Receiving daily the bounties of Heaven, sunshine and shower, food and raiment, friends and home,–all the unnoted yet priceless blessings of life,–they forget the claims of the Giver; forget that God has left them a legacy in his poor; and that Christ, the Majesty of Heaven, identifies himself with suffering humanity in the person of his saints.  [RH, January 3, 1882 par. 2]  
     Says our Saviour, “It was I whom you neglected. While your wardrobe was supplied with costly apparel, I had no comfortable clothing; while you feasted, I was hungry; while you were absorbed in pleasure, I was sick, a stranger, and uncared for. Let those who would have a happy new year, seek to honor God and make all around them happy. Let them share the gifts of Providence with those more needy, and bring to the Lord their offerings of gratitude, their sin-offerings, and their free-will offerings.  [RH, January 3, 1882 par. 3]  
     Let us review our own course during the past year, and compare our life and character with the Bible standard. Have we withheld from our gracious Benefactor that which he claims from us in return for all the blessings he has granted? Have we neglected to care for the poor, and comfort the sorrowing? Here, then, is work for us.  [RH, January 3, 1882 par. 4]  
     Upon many, God has bestowed his gifts with a lavish hand. Will they make corresponding returns? Some of these persons, when in poverty, were faithful in the smallest trust committed to them. They would sooner deny themselves of the comforts, or even the necessaries of life, than to withhold their offerings from the Lord’s treasury. God has rewarded their faithfulness by prosperity. But now a change comes over the recipients of his bounty. Their wants increase faster than their income, and they no longer return to God the portion which is his due. Thus is developed that same spirit of covetousness which proved the ruin of Judas.  [RH, January 3, 1882 par. 5]  
     Let us each bring our souls to task. Let us see if we have brought all our offerings to God. I would do this for myself as an individual. It may be that I have been remiss during the past year. I know not when or where, but to make sure that I have done my whole duty, I will at the first of the year bring an offering to God to be appropriated as may seem best, to some one of the branches of his work. If any of you, my brethren and sisters, are convicted that you have failed to render to God the things that are his; if you have not kindly considered the wants of the poor; or if you have withheld from any man his due, I entreat you to repent before the Lord, and to restore fourfold. Strict honesty toward God and men will alone meet the divine requirements. Remember that if you have defrauded a neighbor in trade, or in any manner deprived him of his own, or if you have robbed God in tithes and offerings, it is all registered in the books of Heaven.  [RH, January 3, 1882 par. 6]
     Shall not all these precious tokens of his love call forth a response from us in free-will offerings for his cause? 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. Make melody to him in your hearts, and let his praise be upon your lips. Let us rejoice that our Saviour liveth to make intercession for us in the presence of Jehovah. As a people we have backslidden from God; let us return unto him, and he will return unto us, and will heal all our backslidings. 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.  [RH, December 26, 1882 par. 4]  
     From this time till the opening of the new year, let the theme of our thoughts be, “What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows unto the Lord now in the presence of all his people.” You have taxed your inventive powers to prepare something that will surprise and gratify your friends. Let us in these last days of 1882, be as anxious, as earnest, as persevering, to render to God that which is due him.  [RH, December 26, 1882 par. 5]  
……….
     I address my brethren upon whom God has bestowed of this world’s goods: What will you do at the beginning of this new year to show your gratitude to the Giver of all your mercies? Will you return to him in willing offerings a portion of the gifts he has freely bestowed upon you? Will you, by your Christmas and New Year’s gifts, acknowledge that all things belong to God, and that all the blessings which we receive are the result of divine beneficence?  [RH, December 26, 1882 par. 12]  
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     In every church, however small, special efforts should be made to show our gratitude to God by bringing our offerings for his cause. Let those who desire a Christmas tree make its boughs fruitful with gifts for the needy, and offerings for the treasury of God. And let the children learn the blessedness of giving by bringing their little gifts to add to the offerings of their parents.  [RH, December 26, 1882 par. 15]
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     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 Years 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. Provide something to be read during these long winter evenings. For those who can procure it, D’Aubigne’s History of the Reformation will be both interesting and profitable. From this work we may gain some knowledge of what has been accomplished in the past in the great work of reform. We can see how God poured light into the minds of those who searched his word, how much the men ordained and sent forth by him were willing to suffer for the truth’s sake, and how hard it is for the great mass of mankind to renounce their errors and to receive and obey the teachings of the Scriptures. During the winter evenings, when our children were young, we read from this history with the deepest interest. We made it a practice to read instructive and interesting books, with the Bible, in the family circle, and our children were always happy as we thus entertained them. Thus we prevented a restless desire to be out in the street with young companions, and at the same time cultivated in them a taste for solid reading.  [RH, December 26, 1882 par. 18]  
     As a people we have not realized the work which should have been done in the last days of the old year, and much of it is left undone. The excitement of the Christmas holiday is now in the past, and what has been the record that has passed up to God? As we have professed to celebrate the birth of our Saviour, have our hearts been filled with gratitude for the infinite gift of God’s dear Son? Have our thoughts and affections been such as God can accept? Has Jesus been revered and honored? Has he been made prominent in our thoughts and plans? and have our gifts flowed into his treasury? Is it not true that in many instances Christ and his claims have been forgotten in the feasting and merriments, and that the honor due to him has been given to man? Have not the thoughts, the labor, and the means been diverted from the proper object, and turned into a channel to please, honor, and exalt the human, rather than the divine?  [ST, January 4, 1883 par. 5]  
     I have felt most keenly our danger as a people on these occasions. I have feared that selfishness would be strengthened, that idolatry would be encouraged, and the love of God be crowded from our hearts; that the record borne to the heavenly courts would show that Christ was made of less consequence than earthly friends. I have feared that feasts and social gatherings would prove to be a snare of Satan to divert the mind from Christ and his great sacrifice in our behalf; that the very associations which should lead us to contemplate the work of redemption would be lost sight of in the observance of worldly customs, and that there would be less thought of Jesus and the mansions he has gone to prepare for those who love him, than upon common occasions.  [ST, January 4, 1883 par. 6]  
     I see no objection to placing even in our churches a Christmas or New Year tree bearing fruit in gifts and offerings for the cause of God. We may thus take advantage of the occasion to turn the customary gifts of the season into the right channel. And such a holiday celebration is a useful lesson to our children, teaching them to bestow their gifts in a manner to honor their Redeemer. But when we devote our means and labor to feasting ourselves, we fail to render to God that honor which is his due.  [ST, January 4, 1883 par. 7]  
     I have resolved from this time to make Christ first and last and best in everything. I will not sanction feasts made to celebrate birthday or marriage anniversaries, but will bend all my energies to lift up Jesus among the people. I will seek to impress upon the minds of my brethren and sisters the great necessity of preparation of heart, by confession and humiliation, to be accepted of God and acknowledged as his dear children. My heart has ached as I have seen men honored, while Jesus was neglected and almost forgotten,–liberal gifts for earthly friends, but poor and meager offerings for him to whom we owe our all.  [ST, January 4, 1883 par. 8]  
     Christ opened before us the bright path of peace, of joy, of Heaven; and what have we done for him on these occasions when every word and act should express our gratitude for his wondrous love? How stands the record of the past Christmas? Have we given to Jesus all that there is of us? Have we denied self that we might show our affection for our best friend? Have we made a record that we shall not be ashamed to meet in the day of final accounts? If all realized as they should the shortness of time, the backslidings of our people, the perils which beset our pathway, the deceptions of Satan, and his victories over unguarded souls, there would be no feasting, no mirthful gatherings to pay honor to the human; but there would be a great humbling of heart before God, and earnest prayer for pardoning and sanctifying grace.  [ST, January 4, 1883 par. 9]  
     Peter, who once denied his Lord, was afterward forgiven by our Saviour, and entrusted with the work of feeding the flock of God. Yet when condemned to death, and about to suffer for Christ’s sake, the apostle begged that he might not be crucified in the same position as his Lord and Master, but that he might be nailed to the cross with his head downward. He felt that it was too great an honor for him to be put to death in the same manner as his Saviour whom he had denied. Would it not be well if our consciences were more sensitive? if we could possess more of the same spirit of contrition and humility? At a time when we are professedly celebrating Christ’s birth, should we not keep self in the background? Would it not be more appropriate to abase self and to exalt Jesus?  [ST, January 4, 1883 par. 10]  
     The perfection of our Saviour’s character awakens the admiration of angels and of men. Here is an exhaustless theme for thought. The brightest and most exalted of the sons of the morning heralded his glory at creation, and announced his birth with songs of gladness. They veil their faces before him as he sits upon his throne; they cast their crowns at his feet, and sing his triumphs as they behold his resplendent glory. Our souls are cold and dull because we do not dwell upon the matchless charms of our Redeemer. If we occupy our thoughts in contemplating his love and mercy, we shall reflect the same in our life and character; for by beholding, we become changed. Oh, the mysteries of redemption! Only by exalting Jesus and abasing self can we celebrate aright the birth of the Son of God.  [ST, January 4, 1883 par. 11]  
     As we stand on the threshold of a new year, there is need of an impartial examination of our hearts to dispel the pleasing illusions of self-love. Our condition is helpless and hopeless unless infinite mercy is granted us daily, and pardon is written against our names in the heavenly records. Those only who see and feel their spiritual necessities will go to Jesus for that help which they so much need, and which he only can give. He alone can cleanse us from all sin. He alone can place upon us the robe of righteousness.  [ST, January 4, 1883 par. 12]  
     What fruit have we borne during the year that is now past? What has been our influence upon others? Whom have we gathered to the fold of Christ? The eyes of the world are upon us. Are we living epistles of Christ, known and read of all men? Do we follow the example of Jesus in self-denial, in meekness, in humility, in forbearance, in cross-bearing, in devotion? Will the world be compelled to acknowledge us to be the servants of Christ? What is our past record? What will be our future record? If we cannot without pain trace the workings of our own hearts and review the record of our lives, how can we stand before the Judge of all the earth, who is infinitely pure and holy, and who will determine our cases by the unerring standard of his perfect law?  [ST, January 4, 1883 par. 13]  
     Shall we not in this new year seek to correct the errors of the past? It behooves us individually to cultivate the grace of Christ, to be meek and lowly of heart, to be firm, unwavering, steadfast in the truth; for thus only can we advance in holiness, and be made fit for the inheritance of the saints in light. Let us begin the year with an entire renunciation of self; let us pray for clear discernment, that we may understand our Saviour’s claims upon us, and that we may always and everywhere be witnesses for Christ.  [ST, January 4, 1883 par. 14]  
     Our time and talents belong to God, to be used for his honor and glory. It should be our earnest, anxious effort to let the light shine through our life and character to illumine the pathway Heavenward, that souls may be attracted from the broad road to the narrow way of holiness. Oh, that the followers of Christ had less desire to devote labor, time, and money, to feasts and celebrations in honor of earthly friends, and a greater desire to honor Jesus! I entreat you to bring to him your gifts and offerings, and withhold not yourselves. Strong men are needed in the church, successful workers in the Lord’s vineyard, men and women who will labor that the church may be transformed to the image of Christ, rather than conformed to the customs and practices of the world. We have everything to gain or to lose. Let us see that we are on the side of Christ–the gaining side; that we are making sure work for Heaven.  [ST, January 4, 1883 par. 15]  
     “Take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand”
                  “Strong in the strength which God supplies
                          Through his eternal Son.”
  [ST, January 4, 1883 par. 16]  
     Some have said to me, “Sr. White, what do you think of this? Is it in accordance with our faith?” I answer them, “Is it with my faith.” In Healdsburg, San Francisco, and Oakland, there are many things to attract our children; large sums are expended every year on Christmas and New Year’s in purchasing gifts for friends. These gifts are not generally satisfactory; for many receive presents that they do not need, when they would be glad to have some other article; some receive the same article from several different persons; and others receive nothing at all. We have tried earnestly to make the holidays as interesting as possible to the youth and children, while changing this order of things. Our object has been to keep them away from scenes of amusement among unbelievers. Instead of following a selfish custom, and giving to those from whom presents will be expected in return, let us make our offerings to the Lord. This plan has proved successful in many of our churches, and it was a success on this occasion, the donations amounting to $138.00. Thus the new year was opened with offerings to the Giver of all our mercies and blessings.  [RH, January 29, 1884 par. 2]  
December 9, 1884 Christmas is Coming.
By Mrs. E. G. White.
     “Christmas is coming,” is the note that is sounded throughout our world from East to West and from North to South. With youth, those of mature age, and even the aged, it is a period of general rejoicing, of great gladness. But what is Christmas, that it should demand so much attention? This day has been made much of for centuries. It is accepted by the unbelieving world, and by the Christian world generally, as the day on which Christ was born. When the world at large celebrate the day, they show no honor to Christ. They refuse to acknowledge him as their Saviour, to honor him by willing obedience to his service. They show preference to the day, but none to the one for whom the day is celebrated, Jesus Christ.  [RH, December 9, 1884 par. 1]  
     The twenty-fifth of December is supposed to be the day of the birth of Jesus Christ, and its observance has become customary and popular. But yet there is no certainty that we are keeping the veritable day of our Saviour’s birth. History gives us no certain assurance of this. The Bible does not give us the precise time. Had the Lord deemed this knowledge essential to our salvation, he would have spoken through his prophets and apostles, that we might know all about the matter. But the silence of the Scriptures upon this point evidences to us that it is hidden from us for the wisest purposes. In his wisdom, the Lord concealed the place where he buried Moses. God buried him, and God resurrected him, and took him to heaven. This secrecy was to prevent idolatry. He against whom they rebelled while he was in active service, whom they provoked almost beyond human endurance, was almost worshiped as God after his separation from them by death. For the very same purpose he has concealed the precise day of Christ’s birth; that the day should not receive the honor that should be given to Christ as the Redeemer of the world,–one to be received, to be trusted, to be relied on as he who could save to the uttermost all who come unto him. The soul’s adoration should be given to Jesus as the Son of the infinite God.  [RH, December 9, 1884 par. 2]  
     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, the glory is turned from him to mortal man, whose sinful, defective character made it necessary for him to come to our world. Jesus, the Majesty of heaven, the royal King of heaven, laid aside his royalty, left his throne of glory, his high command, and came into our world to bring to fallen man, weakened in moral power, and corrupted by sin, aid divine. He clothed his divinity with humanity, that he might reach to the very depths of human woe and misery, to lift up fallen man. By taking upon himself man’s nature, he raised humanity in the scale of moral value with God. These great themes are almost too high, too deep, too infinite, for the comprehension of finite minds.  [RH, December 9, 1884 par. 3]  
     Parents should keep these things before their children, and instruct them, line upon line, precept upon precept, in their obligation to God,–not their obligation to each other, to honor and glorify one another by gifts and offerings. But they should be taught that Jesus is the world’s Redeemer, the object of thought, of painstaking effort; that his work is the grand theme which should engage their attention; that they should bring to him their gifts and offerings. Thus did the wise men and the shepherds.  [RH, December 9, 1884 par. 4]  
     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. The desire for amusement, instead of being quenched and arbitrarily ruled down, should be controlled and directed by painstaking effort upon the part of the parents. Their desire to make gifts may be turned into pure and holy channels, and made to result in good to our fellow-men by supplying the treasury in the great, grand work for which Christ came into our world. Self-denial and self-sacrifice marked his course of action. Let it mark ours who profess to love Jesus; because in him is centered our hope of eternal life.  [RH, December 9, 1884 par. 5]  
     Youth cannot be made as sedate and grave as old age, the child as sober as the sire. While sinful amusements are condemned, as they should be, let parents, teachers, and guardians of youth provide in their stead innocent pleasures, which shall not taint or corrupt the morals. Do not bind down the young to rigid rules and restraints that will lead them to feel themselves oppressed and to break over and rush into paths of folly and destruction. With a firm, kindly, considerate hand, hold the lines of government, guiding and controlling their minds and purposes, yet so gently, so wisely, so lovingly, that they still will know that you have their best good in view. How many parents are lamenting the fact that they cannot keep their children at home, that they have no love for home. At an early age they have a desire for the company of strangers; and as soon as they are old enough, they break away from that which appears to them to be bondage and unreasonable restraint, and will neither heed a mother’s prayers nor a father’s counsels. Investigation would generally reveal that the sin lay at the door of the parents. They have not made home what it ought to be,–attractive, pleasant, radiant with the sunshine of kind words, pleasant looks, and true love.  [RH, December 9, 1884 par. 6]  
     The secret of saving your children lies in making your home lovely and attractive. Indulgence in parents will not bind the children to God nor to home; but a firm, godly influence to properly train and educate the mind would save many children from ruin.  [RH, December 9, 1884 par. 7]  
     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. Keep before their minds benevolent objects. In no case should mere amusement be the object of these gatherings. While there may be some who will turn these occasions into seasons of careless levity, and whose minds will not receive the divine impress, to other minds and characters these seasons will be highly beneficial. I am fully satisfied that innocent substitutes can be devised for many gatherings that demoralize.  [RH, December 9, 1884 par. 8]  
     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. I present before you, my brethren and sisters, an object, the European mission. In every church let your smaller offerings be placed upon your Christmas tree. Let the precious emblem, “ever green,” 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. I heard Eld. Butler read a touching letter a few days since from Eld. Whitney, of Europe. The good work is going forward there, but it ought to have been done six years ago. Let not this work be hindered. Let it advance. If all, both old and young, will forego giving presents to one another, and forego the selfish outlay of means in these coming holidays, there would be in heaven a most precious record of self-denial for Christ’s sake.  [RH, December 9, 1884 par. 9]  
     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 God 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? Thousands of dollars are needlessly spent every year in gifts to each other. That is means lost to God, lost to his cause. It pleases the vanity, encourages pride, creates all kinds of dissatisfaction, murmuring, and complaints, because perhaps the gifts are not just what was desired, not of the high value wanted or expected. Christmas is not observed as its name implies it should be. Man has forsaken God in almost everything, and has turned the attention to self. He has left the pure springs of living waters which flow from the throne of God, and hewn out to himself broken cisterns, which can hold no water. God gave man a probation that he might be fitted for heaven. He was to look upward to God, who was to be the soul’s adoration; but talent, skill, and inventive powers are all exercised to make self the supreme object of attention. Man has withdrawn his gaze from Deity, and fastened his eyes upon the finite, the earthly, the corruptible.  [RH, December 9, 1884 par. 10]  
     Satan is in this work to put God out of the mind and interpose the world and self that the eye shall not be single to the glory of God. Satan captivates and ensnares the mind. His infernal wisdom is continually exercised to mold and fashion the material with which he has to deal, to make God the least and the last object of devotion.  [RH, December 9, 1884 par. 11]  
     The various amusements of society have been the ruin of thousands who, but for these devices of Satan, might be servants of the living God. There are wrecks of character seen everywhere who have been destroyed by gilded, fashionable pleasure; and still the work is going forward. Thousands more will go to ruin who will not open their eyes to see and sense the fact that, although they are professed Christians, they are lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.  [RH, December 9, 1884 par. 12]  
     I entreat you, my brethren and sisters, to make this coming Christmas a blessing to yourselves and others. The birth of Jesus was unhallowed by the great men of earth. He was the Majesty of heaven; yet this royal subject had no attendants. His birth was unhonored by the very men he came to our world to save. But his advent was celebrated by the heavenly host. Angels of God, in the appearance of a star, conducted the wise men on their mission in search of Jesus. They came with gifts and costly offerings of frankincense and myrrh, to pay their oblation to the infant king foretold in prophecy. They followed the brilliant messengers with assurance and great joy. The angels passed by the school of the prophets, the palaces of kings, and appeared to the humble shepherds, guarding their flocks by night, upon Bethlehem’s plains. One angel first appeared, clothed with the panoply of heaven; and so surprised and so terrified were the shepherds that they could only gaze upon the wondrous glory of the heavenly visitant with unutterable amazement. The angel of the Lord came to them, and said, “Fear not, for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be unto all people; for unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you, Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” No sooner had their eyes become accustomed to the glorious presence of the one angel, than, lo! the whole plain was lighted up with the wondrous glory of the multitude of angels that peopled the plains of Bethlehem. The angel quieted the fears of the shepherds before opening their eyes to behold the multitude of the heavenly host, all praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest; and on earth, peace, good will to men.”  [RH, December 9, 1884 par. 13]  
     Then was the melody of heaven heard by mortal ears, and the heavenly choir swept back to heaven as they closed their ever memorable anthem. The light faded away and the shadows of the night once more fell on the hills and plains of Bethlehem; but there remained in the hearts of the shepherds the brightest picture mortal man had ever looked upon, and the blessed promise and assurance of the advent to our world of the Saviour of men, which filled their hearts with joy and gladness, mingled with faith and wondrous love to God. In simple trust, the shepherds hastened to follow the direction of the heavenly messengers, to find the royal babe, not in a palace, not in even a common inn, but in a stable. They bowed in reverence to the infant king, committing no idolatry. But how certain is it that idolatry is committed by those who profess to be lovers of Jesus! Their attention, thought, and powers are devoted to poor, finite mortals. Relatives and friends come in for the worship which belongs to God alone.  [RH, December 9, 1884 par. 14]  
     I entreat my brethren and sisters to have a special object in view. The European mission is in great need of means to carry forward the work. In Switzerland they are building a printing office which is greatly needed; and means is wanted to carry forward this work to completion. It now seems an impossibility to supply this great need for lack of means. The missionary work must go forward. 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 our behalf. Let God be brought to remembrance by every child and parent; and let the offerings, both small and large, be brought to the store-house of God.  [RH, December 9, 1884 par. 15]  
     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 God 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 store-house 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. Will you not arise, my Christian brethren and sisters, and gird yourselves for duty in the fear of God, so arranging this matter that it shall not be dry and uninteresting, but full of innocent enjoyment that shall bear the signet of Heaven? I know the poorer class will respond to these suggestions. The most wealthy should also show an interest, and bestow their gifts and offerings proportionate to the means with which God has intrusted them. 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.  [RH, December 9, 1884 par. 16]
December 15, 1885 Holiday Gifts.
     The holiday season is at hand, and old and young are studying what they can bestow upon their friends as a token of remembrance. The world at large are devising gifts for earthly friends; shall we not remember our heavenly Benefactor? Will he not be pleased if we show that we have not forgotten him? While multitudes celebrate Christmas, there are few who show honor to Christ. The day is devoted to selfish indulgence, and the Redeemer’s great love and sacrifice awaken no response. Let it not be so with us. Let the precious tokens of his love call forth an expression of gratitude in free-will offerings for his cause.  [RH, December 15, 1885 par. 1]  
     God is not honored by the practice of bestowing costly presents upon a few favorites because it is the custom. These favorites are seldom the Lord’s poor. Many are really perplexed to decide what gifts they can select that will give pleasure to those who are abundantly supplied with the good things of this life. Thousands of dollars are needlessly spent every year on Christmas gifts. The means is lost to the cause of God. Not only so, but it gratifies vanity, encourages pride, and often occasions dissatisfaction and complaints because the gifts are not what was desired, or are not of the value expected. As Christians, we cannot honor a custom which is not approved of Heaven. All that we possess belongs to God, and he has made us his stewards. Let us not expend our means for idols to please the fancy and engage the affections of our friends, to the neglect of our best Friend,-the one to whom we owe everything. When tempted to purchase expensive ornaments or other needless articles, ask yourselves the questions “Can I do this to the glory of God?” Let not time and means be spent in preparing presents that will benefit neither giver nor receiver. Remember that God will call you to account for the manner in which you employ his gifts.  [RH, December 15, 1885 par. 2]  
     If all the means usually expended by our people at this holiday season were brought as an offering of gratitude to God, to be used in advancing his cause, what an amount would flow into the treasury. Who are willing this year to depart from the custom? Shall we not, old and young, forego the pleasure of making presents to one another, and let the money be invested in the Lord’s work? Shall there not be in heaven a precious record of self-denial for Christ’s sake?  [RH, December 15, 1885 par. 3]  
     Our children have learned to regard Christmas as a day of rejoicing, and we should find it a difficult matter to pass over this holiday without some attention. It may be made to serve a good purpose. The youth should not be left to find their own amusement in vanity and pleasure-seeking. If parents will make the necessary effort, the minds of the children may be directed to God, to his cause, and to the salvation of souls. Their desire to make gifts may be turned into channels of good to their fellow-men, to sustaining the work which Christ came to do.  [RH, December 15, 1885 par. 4]  
     On Christmas let the members of every church assemble, with offerings from willing hands and hearts,–the fruits of love and gratitude to God. Let all exert their influence and ability to make these gatherings attractive and interesting. See how much means you can gather to advance the work of the Lord. Let those who have heretofore planned for self, begin now to plan for the cause of God. On similar occasions in the past, you have taxed your inventive powers to prepare something that would surprise and gratify your friends. Be as earnest and persevering in rendering to God that which is his due. Let the children learn the blessedness of giving, by bringing their little gifts to add to the offerings of their parents.  [RH, December 15, 1885 par. 5]  
     As the holidays are approaching, I appeal to you, instead of making gifts to your friends, to bring your offerings to God. Let us show that we appreciate the great plan of redemption. As God has given us all Heaven in the gift of his dear Son, let us express our gratitude by thank-offerings to his cause. Let the evergreen Christmas trees yield a rich harvest for God.  [RH, December 7, 1886 par. 14]  
     I present before you our missions in foreign lands as the object of your gifts. Let us show that we value the precious light of truth by making a sacrifice to extend the light to those who are in darkness. Through our self-denial and sacrifice, lands that have never heard the truth may hear it. They may become vocal with the praise of God, and from them many voices may be lifted to swell the last note of warning. Let every church, every family, join in this work. Let every child take a part, bringing some offering as the result of his own industry and self-denial. The Saviour will accept the free-will offerings of every one. Gifts which are the fruit of self-denial to extend the precious light of truth, will be as fragrant incense before God.  [RH, December 7, 1886 par. 15]  
     Have we been forgetful of God’s goodness in the past, we have now a precious opportunity to redeem these neglects. Let us upon the coming Christmas and New Year’s not only make an offering to him of our means, but give ourselves to him in willing service. To each of us, from the oldest to the youngest, is granted the privilege of becoming workers together with God. Christ is soon to come in the clouds of heaven to reward every one according to his works. To whom will it then be said, “Ye have done what ye could”?
     Torre Pellice, Italy.  [RH, December 7, 1886 par. 16]  
     Holiday gifts should be given to foreign missions.– {Text then continues as below} [PaM 261.2 1995]
     Every dollar and every dime that we can spare is needed now, to aid in carrying the message of truth to other lands. At the holiday season much is spent by our own people upon gifts and various gratifications which are not only useless but often hurtful. Appetite is indulged, pride and self-love are fostered, and Christ is forgotten. If the money usually devoted to these objects were all brought into the mission treasury, our foreign missions would be lifted above embarrassment. Shall we not this year consecrate to God not merely a part but all our holiday gifts for the relief of his cause, which is in so great need? How can we more appropriately celebrate the coming Christmas, how better express our gratitude to God for the gift of his dear Son, than by offerings to send to all the world the tidings of his soon coming?  [RH, December 6, 1887 par. 12]  
     We are nearing the close of another year. Christmas and New Year’s will soon be here. Let us candidly and carefully review our life during the year that is about to pass, with its burden of history, into eternity, and consider the many tokens we have had of the favor of God in the blessings he has bestowed upon us. The most unspeakable gift which God could bestow upon the world was the gift of his beloved Son.  [RH, December 11, 1888 par. 1]  
December 8, 1887 Christmas Gifts for Christ.
By Mrs. E. G. White.
     Christmas and New Year’s will soon be here, and what plans are we making in reference to them? How shall we employ them so that we may be workers together with God? The people in general celebrate the professed anniversary of the Saviour’s birth, by feasting and merriment, and by making gifts to earthly friends. Time, thought, and money are devoted to these things, and Christ and his cause are neglected. The very day chosen to honor Christ is devoted by the many to honoring and pleasing themselves. Appointed to keep the Saviour in remembrance, it is spent in causing him to be forgotten.  [ST, December 8, 1887 par. 1]  
     The Christian should pursue a course the opposite of this. At these seasons God’s grace is brought before us in a special manner. We are bidden not only to recall the manifold blessings of the year, the rich gifts which Providence has so bounteously bestowed, but above all to remember the priceless gift of God’s dear Son. Here is an exhaustless theme for thought. The perfection of our Saviour’s character awakens the admiration of angels. The brightest and most exalted of the sons of the morning heralded his glory at creation, and with songs of gladness announced his birth. They veil their faces before him as he sits upon his throne; they cast their crowns at his feet, and sing his triumphs as they behold his resplendent glory. Yet this glorious Being loved the poor sinner, and took upon him the form of a servant, that he might suffer and die in man’s behalf. Jesus might have remained at the Father’s right hand, wearing the kingly crown and royal robes; but he chose to exchange all the riches, honor, and glory of Heaven for the poverty of humanity, and his station of high command for the anguish of Gethsemane, and the humiliation and agony of Calvary.  [ST, December 8, 1887 par. 2]  
     Oh, the mysteries of redemption! How dark and selfish is the human heart that can turn away from such incomparable love, and set itself upon the vain things of this world! Our souls are cold and dull because we do not dwell upon the matchless charms of our Redeemer. If we occupy our thoughts in contemplating his love and mercy, we shall reflect the same in our life and character; for by beholding we become changed. Only by exalting Jesus and abasing self can we celebrate aright the birth of the Son of God.  [ST, December 8, 1887 par. 3]  
     God’s purposes of grace toward us are measureless. Rich and glorious beyond our power to express or to conceive are the blessings of redemption. Yet God has not left us to the enjoyment of these without requiring returns on our part. He calls us to become co-laborers with Christ in the great plan of salvation. All who receive his grace are to communicate the precious gift to others. It was by a sacrifice that redemption was purchased for us, and we, in our turn, are to sacrifice, to make known to others the unsearchable riches of Christ.  [ST, December 8, 1887 par. 4]  
     When selfishness is striving for the victory, let us look to our Exemplar. The cross of Calvary appeals to every follower of Jesus to unite with the Saviour in seeking that which was lost. The wounded hands, the pierced side, the marred feet, plead for the sinner, whose redemption was purchased at such a cost.  [ST, December 8, 1887 par. 5]  
     If we keep Christmas at all, we should show that we understand its significance. Instead of saying by our actions that we are putting Christ out of our minds and hearts, let us testify to men, to angels, and to God, that we remember our Redeemer, by following his example of self-denial for others’ good.  [ST, December 8, 1887 par. 6]  
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     The people are perishing for lack of knowledge. There are hundreds and thousands in our own country that know nothing of the special truths for this time. In other lands millions are buried in ignorance and superstition. There are those who will be responsible for these souls that have never heard the truth.  [ST, December 8, 1887 par. 9]  
     Brethren and sisters, I present before you our foreign missions as the object of your Christmas gifts. While we are not to neglect the fields at our own doors, let us at this time remember those that are in still greater darkness and destitution. Few realize the vast extent of the work which God has committed to us in our foreign missions. Europe alone, with an area about the same as ours, has a population of 350,000,000,–six times that of the United States. And this is made up of many nations and peoples, that differ widely in their habits and customs, and among whose teeming millions more than a score of languages are spoken, with hundreds of dialects.  [ST, December 8, 1887 par. 10]  
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     The banner of truth is to be unfurled in far-distant countries. The great and testing truths which God has committed to us are to be given to all nations, tongues, and peoples. We invite all, men, women, and children, at the coming Christmas to do all that they possibly can do to aid in the accomplishment of this work. Let us throughout our churches unitedly resolve not to make the holidays a time of feasting and selfish gratification. Let us excuse the members of our household from making presents to us. Our time, our money, belongs to God. Every hour, every moment, is precious. Dollars, dimes, and even pennies should be treasured up to aid in bringing souls to Christ and the truth. Shall not every needless ornament, every extravagance, every selfish indulgence, be given up, and all these little outgoes, these tiny streams, flow into the Lord’s treasury? Past pledges should now be canceled, as far as possible. Those who have robbed God in tithes and offerings should come before him and make restitution. And to these let us add our free-will gifts.  [ST, December 8, 1887 par. 15]  
     Let your Christmas tree be dedicated to God, and let its boughs be laden with offerings for Christ. Do not give as though it were a task, doling out your donations with a niggardly hand. Good works are no drudgery. In giving to us his Son, God has poured out to us all Heaven in one gift. Let us with an overflowing heart, with gratitude and joy because of Christ’s matchless love, bring him our offerings. Teach your children by your own example the blessedness of doing for Christ. Train them to go on errands of love for him, and in all their gifts to remember the gracious Giver.  [ST, December 8, 1887 par. 16]  
     If there are any who are in need of food or comfortable clothing, they should be remembered; we are not to neglect Christ in the person of his saints. But let us be constantly seeking to make God and his cause first in our thoughts and plans.  [ST, December 8, 1887 par. 17]  
     Many hardly, know as yet what self-denial is, or what it is to suffer for the truth’s sake; but none will enter Heaven without making a sacrifice. Yet self-denial will not make us joyless; it will not cast a shadow upon our holidays. It is not what we have, not the abundance of the things of this life, that will make us happy. Our happiness depends upon the relation we sustain to God. An approving conscience, a contented spirit, sweet communion with Jesus, will make us the happiest beings in the world.  [ST, December 8, 1887 par. 18]  
     God marks and remembers every act of liberality performed by his people. Every effort we make for Christ will be rewarded by him. If the means intrusted to our keeping is employed for his glory, to save souls, he will give more into our hands. Every ray of light shed upon others will be reflected upon our own hearts. Every act performed, every gift bestowed, with an eye single to the glory of God, will result in blessings to the giver. No joy can equal the assurance of being an instrument in the hands of God of saving souls.  [ST, December 8, 1887 par. 19]  
     I pray God that those who profess to be followers of Christ may in truth follow in his steps; that they may be rivals in their missionary efforts; that they may be temperate in all things; that they may run with patience the race for the incorruptible reward; that when the Judgment shall sit and the books shall be opened, all may receive the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give them at that day.  [ST, December 8, 1887 par. 20]
     Let us so manifest our faith and our love for God and the souls of men, that Jesus and his angels can look down from heaven upon us as a people, and bless us upon the coming Christmas and New Year’s. How unworthy we are of all the priceless gifts and the continued mercies with which the Lord blesses us! How marvelous has been the goodness of God to the children of men! And how can we better testify our gratitude to God than by making thank-offerings to him at this Christmas time?  [RH, December 11, 1888 par. 18]  
     Our children have been educated to expect gifts from parents and friends upon Christmas. Christmas is celebrated to commemorate Christ’s birth. If we celebrate it only in seeking to give pleasure to our children and one another, our offerings are diverted from the true object. We should bring our thank offerings to the Lord, laying our gifts at the feet of Him who has opened the treasures of heaven to us.  [RH, December 11, 1888 par. 19]  
     The enemy plans that human minds and hearts shall be diverted from God and his cause, to praise and honor one another. God has been left out of the question, and positively dishonored. Christmas has been made a day of feasting of gluttony, of selfish indulgence. Now let every family consider this matter in all its bearings. Let the parents place it in all its wonderful significance before their children and friends, and say: “This year we will not expend money in presents upon ourselves, but we will honor and glorify God. We will testify of our gratitude to him who gave his Son to die as our sacrifice, that we might have the gift of eternal life.” Let us show that we appreciate this gift, and respond as far as it is in our power, with thank-offerings. Let us celebrate Christmas by remembering God, instead of remembering our friends and relatives with gifts which they do not need.  [RH, December 11, 1888 par. 20]  
     Will not God acknowledge the offerings thus bestowed? Will he not bless the little ones who bring some offering of their own to the Master?–Indeed he will. Is not this a most precious opportunity to educate your children in the work of self-denial for Jesus’s sake? Tell the children of the great missionary field, and talk to them of the love of Christ; of the great sacrifice made because he loved us, and wanted us to have a home with him in his kingdom. He came to our world to bless it with his divine presence, to bring peace, and light, and joy; but the world would not receive him, and put the Prince of Life to death. His death was to bring the treasures of heaven within the reach of all who should believe in Jesus. Make this glorious theme plain to your children; and as their young hearts expand with love to God, let them present their little offerings, that they may act their part in sending the precious light of truth to others. Thus the children may become little missionaries for the Master. Their little offerings coming into the treasury like many tiny rivulets, may swell the stream to a river that shall refresh many souls who are thirsting for the truth of God; and even these children may see some souls saved in the kingdom of God as the result of their self-denial.  [RH, December 11, 1888 par. 21]  
     There are many in our churches who should bring large offerings, and not content themselves with presenting a feeble pittance to Him who has done so much for them. Immeasurable blessings are falling upon them, but how little they return to the Giver! Let those who are indeed pilgrims and strangers upon the earth, now send their treasures before them to the heavenly country, in the much needed gifts to the Lord’s treasury. Let the grace of Christ open your hearts to give valuable offerings to God on this Christmas and New Year’s. Has not the Lord made you channels of light to the world? Our missionary efforts must not be limited by lack of means. The calls for help in new fields should arouse us to do something, and to do it now. Shall we let home and foreign missions suffer through selfishness and covetousness? It is possible to confess Christ with our lips, while in works we deny him.  [RH, December 18, 1888 par. 16]
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     Will my brethren now arouse to do their work? The signs reveal to us that “the night cometh, in which no man can work.” The time is coming in which you can neither buy nor sell. That will be a serious time for the people of God. Now you can sell and give alms. Now you can send your treasure before you into heaven, and God calls for your means to advance his cause. Let this Christmas-time and the entering in of a new year testify to the zeal of God’s people. There has been a withholding from God of tithes and offerings. The question is asked, “Will a man rob God?” And the answer comes, “Ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee?–In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse; for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.” Wonderful statement, and how true! Shall we humble our souls before God, and confess our sin in robbing him? Shall we be zealous and repent? Shall we redeem the failures of the past? “Bring ye all the tithes into the store-house, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” Shall we obey God, and bring in all our tithes and offerings, that there may be meat to supply the demands of souls hungering for the bread of life? God invites you to prove him now, as the old year draws to its close, and let the new year find us with God’s treasuries replenished. Let us literally prove the Lord, by bringing all the tithes and offerings into his store house, and let us repent of our robbery toward him. He tells us that he will open the windows of heaven, and pour us out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. He pledges his word, “I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field saith the Lord of hosts” Thus his word is our assurance that he will so bless us that we shall have still larger tithes and offerings to bestow. “Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts.”  [RH, December 18, 1888 par. 19]
     The Christmas season is the occasion of making gifts one to another, but the richest gifts Christ has given to the world in Himself, that the world through Him might not perish but have eternal life. Gifts and offerings should be brought to Christ. The most precious gift of all is that of giving Him your heart without any reserve. How acceptable to Christ would be such an offering! Give to Jesus your whole heart, for Him to write His image and superscription upon it, and to send His beams of righteousness into it to be sent to the world through the living agent.  [1888 776.1]
December 17, 1889 Christmas Address to the Young.
     The 25th of December has long been commemorated as the day of Jesus’ birth, and in this article it is not my purpose to affirm or question the propriety of celebrating this event on this day, but to dwell upon the childhood and life of our Saviour. It is my purpose to call the attention of the children to the humble manner in which the Redeemer came to the world. All heaven was interested in the great event of Christ’s advent to earth. Heavenly messengers came to make known the birth of the long-promised, long-expected Saviour to the humble shepherds who were watching their flocks by night on the plains of Bethlehem. The first manifestation that attracted the notice of the shepherds at the birth of the Saviour, was a radiant light in the starry heavens, which filled them with wonder and admiration. “And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”  [RH, December 17, 1889 par. 1]
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     What matchless love Jesus has manifested for a fallen world! If angels sung because the Saviour was born in Bethlehem, shall not our hearts echo the glad strain, Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, good will to men? Although we do not know the exact day of Christ’s birth, we would honor the sacred event. May the Lord forbid that any one should be so narrow-minded as to over-look the event because there is an uncertainty in regard to the exact time. Let us do what we can to fasten the minds of the children upon those things which are precious to every one who loves Jesus. Let us teach them how Jesus came into the world to bring hope, comfort, peace, and happiness to all. The angels explained the reason of their great joy, saying, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Then, children and youth, as you celebrate the coming Christmas, will you not count up the many things for which you are to be grateful, and will you not present a gratitude offering to Christ, and so reveal that you do appreciate the heavenly Gift?  [RH, December 17, 1889 par. 7]  
December 9, 1890 Christmas Gifts.
By Mrs. E. G. White.
     “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. . . . This do, and thou shalt live.” The words spoken to the lawyer are applicable to every soul inquiring, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?”  [RH, December 9, 1890 par. 1]  
     If we do love God with all the heart, we shall remember his claims upon us. He requires that we shall be like him, that we shall imitate the self-sacrificing life of Christ. Jesus said of himself, “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” The joy ever before him was the blessing and uplifting of fallen humanity. Everything else was secondary and subordinate. From the manger to Calvary his life was one scene of loving effort and sacrifice for the good of men. If Christ is dwelling in our hearts, we shall have the same spirit, and shall do the same work. Our thoughts, our interests, our sympathies, as well as our words and money and effort, will be given to the up-building of the Redeemer’s kingdom. And this not merely as a duty; it will be our life, our joy. As the living water bursts from the mountain spring, so will our life flow out in words and deeds of love.  [RH, December 9, 1890 par. 2]  
     This spirit of self-sacrifice has become feeble in the hearts of Christ’s professed followers. Instead of gratefully inquiring, “What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me?” how many of those who claim to have been redeemed by the blood of Christ, seem bent on self-pleasing. Even Christmas, the day observed professedly in honor of the birthday of Christ, has been made a most effective means of turning the mind away from Christ, away from his glory. If Christmas is kept at all, it should be kept in a way that will be in harmony with its significance. Christ should be remembered, his name honored; the old, old story of his love should be recounted. Instead of saying by our actions that we are putting Christ out of our minds and hearts, we should testify to men, to angels, and to God, that we remember our Redeemer, by following his example of self-sacrifice for others’ good. But the day chosen to honor Christ is devoted by the many to honoring and pleasing themselves. Appointed to keep the Saviour in remembrance, it is spent in causing him to be forgotten.  [RH, December 9, 1890 par. 3]  
     How stinted are the offerings that on this day go into the Lord’s treasury! how large the sums that are spent in presents to one another! Yearly those who have means, have put God from their remembrance, and bestowed their gifts upon those who have no need of them, and who could repay them again. How many of you have thus needlessly expended time and money, while close under the shadow of your own homes the poor and needy have been neglected, and while the message of truth has been restricted in its work. The means that was devoted to gratify pride and foster vanity would have been a great blessing to the needy, and would have carried the gospel light to those who sit in darkness.  [RH, December 9, 1890 par. 4]  
     God is the giver of every gift, and he has honored men by making them his stewards, that they should prove themselves faithful in disbursing their means in gifts and offerings to sustain his cause. The Lord has not withheld his blessing from man; he has given his only begotten Son to come into this world to suffer and die, that by believing in him we should have eternal life. He that withheld not his own Son, but gave him as an offering to save us from hopeless misery, how much more will he not with him freely give us all things! What offering will we individually present to Jesus our Saviour for this priceless treasure? Will it not be the very best plan to celebrate the coming Christmas by bringing God to our remembrance, and showing our love to him by putting our gifts into his treasury? These gifts are needed, that the gospel may be sustained, and the truth may reach all parts of the world.  [RH, December 9, 1890 par. 5]  
     The rich can bring to God a liberal offering, saying, “All things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.” Thus they acknowledge the claims of God upon them, and show honor to Christ. In this work the poor also may act a part. God does not estimate the value of our gifts to his cause by their amount in money; he looks upon our motives. It is the heart service that makes the gift valuable. When the Majesty of heaven became a babe, and was intrusted to Mary, she did not have much to offer for the precious gift. She brought to the altar only two turtle doves, the offering appointed for the poor; but they were an acceptable sacrifice to the Lord. She could not present rare treasures such as the wise men of the East came to Bethlehem to lay before the Son of God; yet the mother of Jesus was not rejected because of the smallness of her gift. It was the willingness of her heart that the Lord looked upon, and her love made the offering sweet. So God will accept our gift, however small, if it is the best we have, and is offered from love to him.  [RH, December 9, 1890 par. 6]  
     Will you not acknowledge Jesus as the chief object of your affections, by your free-will offerings to him? Will not parents educate their children to appreciate the great love of Christ, and his wonderful gift? Will they not teach them for his sake to practice self-denial, that they may bring their grateful offerings to Him who for our sake became poor, that we through his poverty might be rich? Instead of sending gifts to one another, let your offerings, large and small, flow into the treasury of God, as the many rivulets flow toward the mighty ocean. The lessons thus taught to your children will be such as God can approve.  [RH, December 9, 1890 par. 7]  
     Under the Jewish economy, on the birth of children an offering was made to God, by his own appointment. Now we see parents taking special pains to present gifts to their children upon their birthdays; they make this an occasion of honoring the child, as though honor were due to the human being. Satan has had his own way in these things; he has diverted the minds and the gifts to human beings; thus the thoughts of the children are turned to themselves, as if they were to be made the objects of special favor. That which should flow back to God in offerings to bless the needy and carry the light of truth to the world, is turned from the right channel, and frequently does more harm than good, encouraging vanity, pride, and self-importance. On birthday occasions the children should be taught that they have reason for gratitude to God for his loving-kindness in preserving their lives for another year. Precious lessons might thus be given. For life, health, food, and clothing, no less than for the hope of eternal life, we are indebted to the Giver of all mercies; and it is due to God to recognize his gifts, and to present our offerings of gratitude to our greatest benefactor. These birthday gifts are recognized of Heaven.  [RH, December 9, 1890 par. 8]  
     If Christian parents had accustomed their children to present offerings to God in acknowledgment of his great gift of salvation to men, how different would be the character of the young. Their minds would have been called away from themselves to the blessed Saviour. They would have been taught to feel that he loved them, and that he is the source of all blessing; that he is their hope of happiness and eternal life. If this kind of education had been given to our children, we should today see far less selfishness, far less envy and jealousy; we should have more manly young men and womanly young women. We should see the youth coming up with moral strength, with pure principles, with well-balanced minds and lovely characters, because the Model would be ever before them; they would be impressed with the importance of copying the excellence of Jesus, the pattern. The world will follow its own customs, its maxims and practices; but the children of God will seek to reach the elevated standard of purity and holiness.  [RH, December 9, 1890 par. 9]
     God wants the youth and those of mature age to look to him, to believe in Jesus Christ whom he has sent, and to have him abiding in the heart; then a new life will quicken every faculty of the being. The divine Comforter will be with them, to strengthen them in their weakness, and guide them in their perplexity. It will make the mind clearer, the heart purer; it sanctifies the will, and makes it strong for the service of God. It will make plain to them the path of life.  [RH, December 9, 1890 par. 10]  
     Satan’s suggestions are carried out in many, many things. Our birthday anniversaries, and Christmas and Thanksgiving festivals, are too often devoted to selfish gratification, when the mind should be directed to the mercy and loving-kindness of God. God is displeased that his goodness, his constant care, his unceasing love, are not brought to mind on these anniversary occasions.  [RH, December 23, 1890 par. 12]  
     If all the money that is used extravagantly, for needless things, were placed in the treasury of God, we should see men and women and youth giving themselves to Jesus, and doing their part to co-operate with Christ and angels. The richest blessing of God would come into our churches, and many souls would be converted to the truth.  [RH, December 23, 1890 par. 13]  
     Not only on birthdays should parents and children remember the mercies of the Lord in a special way, but Christmas and New Year’s should also be seasons when every household should remember their Creator and Redeemer. Instead of bestowing gifts and offerings in such abundance on human objects, reverence, honor, and gratitude should be rendered to God, and gifts and offerings should be caused to flow in the divine channel. Would not the Lord be pleased with such a remembrance of him? O how God has been forgotten on these occasions. At the very time when his loving-kindness should be remembered, his mercy has been ignored. The lesson of the ungrateful lepers should not be in vain to us. “Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?” Shall only one in ten who are receiving the rich benefits of the Lord, return to bow at his feet and to give praise for his mercies? Shall presents be purchased, and money be expended for unnecessary things, and no wisdom be manifested in the outlay of God’s intrusted means? Will parents come out from the world and be separate from its customs? Let them obey the injunction of God, and put forth judicious labor properly to train and educate the young in true knowledge and wisdom. Those men were called wise men who came from the far East to Jerusalem, led by a star in the heavens, to offer gifts of frankincense, myrrh, and gold to the infant Saviour. “Lo, the star, which they saw in the East, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother.” Although Christ was the Majesty of heaven, he was born in poverty, and his cradle was a manger. But when the wise men “had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.”  [RH, November 13, 1894 par. 6]  
     When you have a holiday, make it a pleasant and happy day for your children, and make it also a pleasant day for the poor and the afflicted. Do not let the day pass without bringing thanksgiving and thank-offerings to Jesus. Let parents and children now make earnest effort to redeem the time, and to remedy their past neglect. Let them follow a different course of action from that which the world follows. There are many things which can be devised with taste and cost far less than the unnecessary presents that are so frequently bestowed upon our children and relatives, and thus courtesy can be shown, and happiness brought into the home. You can teach your children a lesson while you explain to them the reason why you have made a change in the value of their presents, telling them that you are convinced that you have hitherto considered their pleasure more than the glory of God. Tell them that you have thought more of your own pleasure and of their gratification and of keeping in harmony with the customs and traditions of the world, in making presents to those who did not need them, than you have of advancing the cause of God. Like the wise men of old, you may offer to God your best gifts, and show by your offerings to him that you appreciate his Gift to a sinful world. Set your children’s thoughts running in a new, unselfish channel, by inciting them to present offerings to God for the gift of his only begotten Son. Let a box be made to receive the gifts of the children. The intelligences of heaven are waiting to co-operate with human agents in every work of benevolence, that there may be means in the treasury of the Lord, and “meat in mine house,” saith the Lord.  [RH, November 13, 1894 par. 7]  
     We should bring gifts to Jesus, as did the wise men when they found the Lord of glory. They had been studying the prophecies, and they knew that the time was fulfilled, and that Jesus had come to be the Saviour of men. Guided by a star, they journeyed to Jerusalem, and all along the way they were inquiring, “Where is He that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship Him.” “And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped Him; and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.”  [BEcho, December 15, 1892 par. 9]  
     The wise men have left us an example of what we should do. Jesus should be the object of our adoration, the recipient of our gifts. It is not man, but our Redeemer, that should be honored. To Him we should offer our praise and gifts and treasures; but instead of this, the world sets its treasures flowing in the channel of self-gratification, and to the honor of men. Christmas gifts are bestowed on our children, on our friends and relatives, and few think of what they can do to show their love and gratitude to God for his great love and compassion upon them.  [BEcho, December 15, 1892 par. 10]  
     In celebrating Christmas, fathers, mothers, children, and friends are diverted from the great object to which the custom is attributed. They give their whole attention to the bestowal of gifts upon one another, and their minds are turned away from the contemplation of the Source of all their blessings both spiritual and temporal. In their attention to gifts and honors bestowed upon themselves or their friends, Jesus is unhonored and forgotten. Parents should seek to teach their children to honor Jesus. They should be instructed how He came to the world to bring light, to shine amid the moral darkness of the world. They should be impressed with the fact that “God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  [BEcho, December 15, 1892 par. 11]  
     We are dependent upon Christ for both spiritual and temporal blessings, we should especially remember the world’s Redeemer, on those days in which others forget Him in pleasing one another, in festivity and careless mirth. We should show special honor to Him in whom our hope of eternal life is centred. Through all the year parents should be educating their children as to how they may honor Jesus in their gifts. They should instruct them that Christ came to the world to save perishing sinners, and that instead of spending money for needless ornaments, for candies and knick-knacks to gratify the taste, they should deny themselves for Christ’s sake, that they may offer to Him an expression of their love. The theme of Christ’s amazing love can be so presented to your children that the little ones will be lost in wonder and love, and their hearts will be melted at the story of Calvary. Tell the children and youth that Jesus died to save them, that He wants them to give to Him their young lives that they may be his obedient children, and be saved from ruin.  [BEcho, December 15, 1892 par. 12]  
     Christ will be pleased to see that the children and the youth, whom He loves, also love Him, and He will accept their gifts and offerings to be used in his cause. From the denial of self in children and youth, many little streams may flow into the treasury of the Lord, and missionaries may be sent out through their gifts to bring light to the heathen, who bow down to gods of wood and stone. Home missionaries also may be assisted, and there are poor who are suffering and needy, who may be blessed with the gifts of the children. Christ identifies his interest with that of his children. He says, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto Me.”  [BEcho, December 15, 1892 par. 13]  
     Brethren and sisters, what are you going to bring to Jesus as an offering of love? What will you render unto the Lord for all his benefits? Will you show forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into his marvellous light, or will you devote your time and money to self and to pleasure seeking, as though self were the great object of attraction? O, may the coming Christmas be the best one you have ever enjoyed, because you have brought gifts to Jesus, and given yourselves and your all without reservation to Him who has given all for you.  [BEcho, December 15, 1892 par. 14]
     Let those who believe the solemn truth for this time make this Christmas a season of giving to missions. The Lord is not pleased that the work has been so concentrated among those who already know the truth. God’s people should be wide-awake, earnest in their efforts to enlighten others. But the Lord sees that his people are not ready for his appearing. The work that those in Battle Creek might have done in other places has not been done. Instead of carrying the bread of life to perishing souls, the people in Battle Creek sit under the ministry of the Word, content to be hearers only. Their neighbors need the attentions they might give; but so engrossed are they in the unimportant matters represented in God’s word as wood, hay, and stubble, that they have no burden for souls. The experience they ought to gain by helping others to look to Jesus they do not gain; for they do not behold him themselves.  [RH, November 14, 1899 par. 6]  
     I have said to my family and my friends, I desire that no one shall make me a birthday or Christmas gift, unless it be with permission to pass it on into the Lord’s treasury, to be appropriated in the establishment of missions.  [AU Gleaner, December 19, 1906 par. 9]  
     I will greatly praise the name of the Lord if his people, at this time, by the exercise of benevolence, will increase the facilities for successful work in many needy fields. I long to see among Seventh-day Adventists an increase of faith and courage, and more praise and thanksgiving to God, so that where in the past there has been a withholding of means, there shall from henceforth be seen the evidences of a grateful heart,–the faithful bestowal of gifts and offerings, to supply the needs of many destitute fields.
                                                              Ellen G. White.
  [AU Gleaner, December 19, 1906 par. 10]  
       Following Satan’s Suggestions
     How the enemy has wrought to place temporal things above spiritual! Many families who have but little to spare for God’s cause, will yet spend money freely to purchase rich furniture or fashionable clothing. How much is spent for the table, and often for that which is only a hurtful indulgence; how much for presents that benefit no one!  [CS 294.3 1940]
     Many spend considerable sums for photographs to give to their friends. Picture taking is carried to extravagant lengths, and encourages a species of idolatry. How much more pleasing to God it would be if all this means were invested in publications which would direct souls to Christ and the precious truths for this time! The money wasted on needless things would supply many a table with reading matter on present truth, which would prove a savor of life unto life.  [CS 295.1 1940]  
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               Birthdays and Holidays
     Parents are to bring up and educate and train their children in habits of self-control and self-denial. They are ever to keep before them their obligation to obey the word of God and to live for the purpose of serving Jesus. They are to educate their children that there is need of living in accordance with simple habits in their daily life, and to avoid expensive dress, expensive diet, expensive houses, and expensive furniture. The terms upon which eternal life will be ours are set forth in these words, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart; . . . and thy neighbor as thyself.”  [CS 295.4 1940]  
     Parents have not taught their children the precepts of the law as God has commanded them. They have educated them in selfish habits. They have taught them to regard their birthdays and holidays as occasions when they expect to receive gifts, and to follow the habits and customs of the world. These occasions, which should serve to increase the knowledge of God and to awaken thankfulness of heart for His mercy and love in preserving their lives for another year, are turned into occasions for self-pleasing, for the gratification and glorification of the children. They have been kept by the power of God through every moment of their life, and yet parents do not teach their children to think of this, and to express thanksgiving for His mercy toward them.  [CS 296.1 1940]  
     If children and youth had been properly instructed in this age of the world, what honor, what praise and thanksgiving, would flow from their lips to God! What a revenue of small gifts would be brought from the hands of the little ones to be put into His treasury as thank offerings! God would be remembered instead of forgotten.  [CS 296.2 1940]  
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     Like the wise men of old, you may offer to God your best gifts, and show by your offerings to Him that you appreciate His Gift to a sinful world. Set your children’s thoughts running in a new, unselfish channel, by inciting them to present offerings to God for the gift of His only-begotten Son.–R. & H., Nov. 13, 1894.  [CS 297.3 1940]  
Chap. Seventy-Six – Holidays And Anniversaries
     The Need of Guidance in Holiday Observance.– I saw that our holidays should not be spent in patterning after the world, yet they should not be passed by unnoticed, for this will bring dissatisfaction to our children. On these days when there is danger that our children will be exposed to evil influences and become corrupted by the pleasures and excitement of the world, let the parents study to get up something to take the place of more dangerous amusements. Give your children to understand that you have their good and happiness in view.  [AH 472.1 1952]  
     Through the observance of holidays the people both of the world and of the churches have been educated to believe that these lazy days are essential to health and happiness, but the results reveal that they are full of evil.  [AH 472.2 1952]  
     We have tried earnestly to make the holidays as interesting as possible to the youth and children, while changing this order of things. Our object has been to keep them away from scenes of amusement among unbelievers.  [AH 472.3 1952]  
     Shall the Angel Record, “A Day Lost?”–After a day of pleasure seeking is ended, where is the satisfaction to the pleasure seeker? As Christian workers, whom have they helped to a better, higher, and purer life? What would they see if they should look over the record the angel wrote? A day lost! To their own souls a day lost, a day lost in the service of Christ, because no good was accomplished. They may have other days but never that day which was idled away in cheap, foolish talk, of girls with boys, and boys with girls.  [AH 472.4 1952]
     Never will these same opportunities offer themselves again. They had better been doing the hardest kind of labor on that holiday. They did not make the right use of their holiday, and it passed into eternity to confront them in the judgment as a day misspent.  [AH 473.1 1952]  
     Birthdays–a Time to Praise God.–Under the Jewish economy on the birth of children an offering was made to God, by His own appointment. Now we see parents taking special pains to present gifts to their children upon their birthdays; they make this an occasion of honoring the child, as though honor were due to the human being. Satan has had his own way in these things; he has diverted the minds and the gifts to human beings; thus the thoughts of the children are turned to themselves, as if they were to be made the objects of special favor. . . .  [AH 473.2 1952]  
     A Time to Review the Year’s Record.–Teach them to review the past year of their life, to consider whether they would be glad to meet its record just as it stands in the books of heaven. Encourage in them serious thoughts, whether their deportment, their words, their works, are of a character pleasing to God. Have they been making their lives more like Jesus, beautiful and lovely in the sight of God? Teach them the knowledge of the Lord, His ways, His precepts.  [AH 473.4 1952]
     How Shall We Observe Thanksgiving?–Our Thanksgiving is approaching. Will it be, as it has been in many instances, a thanksgiving to ourselves? Or will it be a thanksgiving to God? Our Thanksgivings may be made seasons of great profit to our own souls as well as to others if we improve this opportunity to remember the poor among us. . . .  [AH 474.2 1952]  
     There are a hundred ways that can be devised to help the poor in so delicate a manner as to make them feel that they are doing us a favor by receiving our gifts and sympathy. We are to remember that it is more blessed to give than to receive. The attentions of our brethren are most liberal to those whom they wish to honor, and whose respect they desire, but who do not need their help at all. Custom and fashion say, Give to those who will give to you; but this is not the Bible rule of giving. The word of God declares against this way of gratifying self in thus bestowing our gifts, and says, “He that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want.”  [AH 474.3 1952]  
     Now a season is coming when we shall have our principles tested. Let us begin to think what we can do for God’s needy ones. We can make them through ourselves the recipients of God’s blessings. Think what widow, what orphan, what poor family you can relieve, not in a way to make a great parade about the matter, but be as a channel through which the Lord’s substance shall flow as a blessing to His poor. . . .  [AH 474.4 1952]
     But this does not embrace all your duty. Make an offering to your best Friend; acknowledge His bounties; show your gratitude for His favors; bring a thank offering to God. . . . Brethren and sisters, eat a plain dinner on Thanksgiving Day, and with the money you would spend in extras with which to indulge the appetite, make a thank offering to God.  [AH 475.1 1952]  
     Let not any more Thanksgiving days be observed to please and gratify the appetite and glorify self. We have reason for coming into the courts of the Lord with offerings of gratitude that He has preserved our lives another year. . . . If a feast is to be made, let it be for those who are in need.  [AH 475.2 1952]  
     A Day to Give Thanks. [NOTE: PART OF A THANKSGIVING SERMON DELIVERED AT THE BATTLE CREEK TABERNACLE, NOV. 27, 1884.]–I think we have something to be thankful for. We ought to be glad and rejoice in God, for He has given us many mercies. . . . We want this Thanksgiving to be all that it implies. Do not let it be perverted, mingled with dross; but let it be what its name implies–giving thanks. Let our voices ascend in praise.  [AH 475.3 1952]
     Why Not Holidays Unto God?–Would it not be well for us to observe holidays unto God, when we could revive in our minds the memory of His dealing with us? Would it not be well to consider His past blessings, to remember the impressive warnings that have come home to our souls so that we shall not forget God?  [AH 475.4 1952]  
     The world has many holidays, and men become engrossed with games, with horse races, with gambling, smoking, and drunkenness. . . .  [AH 475.5 1952]  
     Shall not the people of God more frequently have holy convocations in which to thank God for His rich blessings?  [AH 476.1 1952]  
     Holidays Afford Opportunity for Missionary Service.– We want men in the church who have ability to develop in the line of organizing and giving practical work to young men and women in the line of relieving the wants of humanity and working for the salvation of the souls of men, women, youth, and children. It will not be possible for all to give their whole time to the work because of the labor they must do to earn their daily living. Yet these have their holidays and times that they can devote to Christian work and do good in this way if they cannot give much of their means.  [AH 476.2 1952]  
     In His wisdom the Lord concealed the place where He buried Moses. God buried him, and God resurrected him and took him to heaven. This secrecy was to prevent idolatry. He against whom they rebelled while he was in active service, whom they provoked almost beyond human endurance, was almost worshiped as God after his separation from them by death. For the very same purpose He has concealed the precise day of Christ’s birth, that the day should not receive the honor that should be given to Christ as the Redeemer of the world–one to be received, to be trusted, to be relied on as He who could save to the uttermost all who come unto Him. The soul’s adoration should be given to Jesus as the Son of the infinite God.  [AH 477.3 1952]
     The Interchange of Gifts as Tokens of Affection.– 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. . . .  [AH 478.4 1952]
     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. Provide something to be read during these long winter evenings.  [AH 479.1 1952]  
     Books for Children Are Recommended.–There are many who have not books and publications upon present truth. Here is a large field where money can be safely invested. There are large numbers of little ones who should be supplied with reading. The Sunshine Series, Golden Grains Series, Poems, Sabbath Readings, [NOTE: REFERENCE IS MADE IN THIS ARTICLE TO NONCURRENT PUBLICATIONS. AS THE PRINCIPLES SET FORTH IN THIS CONNECTION ARE APPLICABLE TODAY, THESE SPECIFIC REFERENCES ARE LEFT IN THE ARTICLE.] etc., are all precious books and may be introduced safely into every family. The many trifles usually spent on candies and useless toys may be treasured up with which to buy these volumes. . . .  [AH 479.2 1952]
     Let those who wish to make valuable presents to their children, grandchildren, nephews, and nieces procure for them the children’s books mentioned above. For young people the Life of Joseph Bates is a treasure; also the three volumes of The Spirit of Prophecy. [NOTE: EARLY E. G. WHITE BOOKS PRECEDING THE PRESENT “CONFLICT OF THE AGES SERIES.”] These volumes should be placed in every family in the land. God is giving light from heaven, and not a family should be without it.
Let the presents you shall make be of that order which will shed beams of light upon the pathway to heaven.  [AH 479.3 1952]
     Jesus Not to Be Forgotten.–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.  [AH 480.1]  
     It is through Christ that we receive every blessing. . . . 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. Make melody to Him in your hearts, and let His praise be upon your lips.  [AH 480.2 1952]  
     A Tree Laden With Offerings Is Not Sinful.–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. Keep before their minds benevolent objects. In no case should mere amusement be the object of these gatherings. While there may be some who will turn these occasions into seasons of careless levity, and whose minds will not receive the divine impress, to other minds and characters these seasons will be highly beneficial. I am fully satisfied that innocent substitutes can be devised for many gatherings that demoralize.  [AH 482.4 1952]
     Provide Innocent Enjoyment for the Day.–Will you not arise, my Christian brethren and sisters, and gird yourselves for duty in the fear of God, so arranging this matter that it shall not be dry and uninteresting, but full of innocent enjoyment that shall bear the signet of Heaven? I know the poorer class will respond to these suggestions. The most wealthy should also show an interest and bestow their gifts and offerings proportionate to the means with which God has entrusted them. 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.  [AH 483.1 1952]
Chap. 353 – The Gift Christ Desires
     I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. Romans 12:1.  [UL 367.1 1982]  
     Will every soul before the old year closes put off the old man with his deeds, and put on the new man, Christ Jesus? Let there be no great ambitious stress to buy presents for Christmas and New Year’s. Little presents for the children may not be amiss, but the Lord’s people should not spend His money in buying costly presents.  [UL 367.2 1982]  
     Christ calls for the greatest of all gifts–the gift of the heart, the mind, the soul, the strength. . . . God requires the service of the whole heart. Those who place themselves in right relation to God will stand the test of the judgment. If the heart, mind, soul, and strength are looked upon as the Lord’s blood-bought heritage, He will use them in His service. Those who obtain eternal life must give evidence to the world that they love God with all the capabilities that He has given them. They are to obey the two supreme commands, which embody all the whole law, acknowledging by their course of action that they are doers of the law. . . .  [UL 367.3 1982]  
Chap. 360 – Resolutions for the New Year
     This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Philippians 3:13-15.  [UL 374.1 1982]  
     Yesterday was Christmas. Did you do as the Wise Men did by offering your gifts to Jesus? Or has the enemy changed the order of things, and directed the worship to himself? The gifts are now bestowed upon friends instead of Him who has made so great a sacrifice for us. All the gifts should flow in another channel, where they could be used in the salvation of men.  [UL 374.2 1982]  
     The new year is just before us. Shall not the gifts be turned to a better account than heretofore? Shall not confession be made and shall we not avail ourselves of the blood of Christ, who is able and willing to cleanse from all sin? For our sakes Christ became poor.  [UL 374.3 1982]  
     In the last great day we shall be judged in accordance with what we have done. Christ will say, “I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?” (Matthew 25:42-44). Christ will then say, “Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me” (verse 45). And Christ will say, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (verse 41).  [UL 374.4 1982]
     Christ came and set the example in sacrificing, and if we are Christ’s, then we will do the works of Christ. Instead of pleasing ourselves, we will be seeking to do others good, and to impart benefits to suffering humanity. And unless this is done, we cannot expect to have a part with Christ.  [UL 374.5 1982]  
     There are souls to be saved all around us, and each has a work to do to be reconciled to Christ. This is the work to take hold of in the new year. We are living for time and eternity, and we want the light to flash upon our pathway and in return we want to extend its blessings to others. . . .  [UL 374.6 1982]  
     Let each strive to have a better record for the coming year, and live so near to God that you may be surrounded with the atmosphere of heaven, and thus be a representative of Christ.–Manuscript 60, Dec. 26, 1886, a sermon preached in the Tramelan, Switzerland, town hall, John Vuilleumier translating.  [UL 374.7 1982]  
     Sister White Sends a Christmas Present. I have for some reason felt anxious for you. I expected to find a letter from you here at Enosburg but was disappointed. I sent you a Christmas present. Let me hear from you.  [3MR 128.3 1990]
     Do not neglect to watch and pray. I have risen early to write to you. I am very anxious that you should succeed in the Christian warfare. The eyes of angels are upon you constantly. Seek to do good. Help those who need help. Pray much, this is your strength.  [3MR 129.1 1990]  
MR No. 1546 – How Shall We Celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas?
     (Cir. 1880) First part missing.
     “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:17, 18.  [21MR 222.1 1993]  
     There is something to come out from. You cannot mix or mingle with the world and at the same time be united with Jesus Christ. “Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” James 4:4. “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord.” John 15:18-20.  [21MR 222.2 1993]  
     Here every specification is given us to show us that we must come out from the world, and how we must come out and be separate from the world, brethren and sisters, and let our influence be wholly on the Lord’s side. I feel that this is of eternal importance. Satan besets the pathway of every one of us. If he can get you to love yourselves, to indulge inclination, to compromise your faith, then you are his servants. You cannot afford this. You do not want your names enrolled as those enlisted in his army.  [21MR 222.3 1993]  
     Thanksgiving Day will be respected, but how is it used? This day’s privileges are turned out of their proper course and it is made a day of feasting and gluttony. Is it a day to set your tables with luxuries and load them down with sweetmeats and condiments for you and yours? Christ said, “When thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.” Luke 14:13, 14. Now, you may not be at a loss to number how many Thanksgivings are kept according to this rule.  [21MR 222.4 1993]  
     If you should bring an offering to God upon that day, do you not believe that God would be as well pleased as any one of your earthly friends would be with a present from you? Stop and think of this, and see if you cannot discern your duty and say, I will bring to God a thanksgiving gift for all the blessings He is bestowing upon me, for the rain in its season, for the sun that makes the seed to vegetate, for the laden boughs, and for the fruits of the harvest.  [21MR 222.5 1993]
     This may be the last Thanksgiving you may ever have in which to make a thank offering to God. Instead of gorging yourselves with the good things of this life, let us come to God and give Him, upon that day, a gift in gratitude for His loving-kindness, and so have a genuine thanksgiving day for God. Let there be no murmurings, no unpleasant feelings, no unholy thoughts, but turn your attention to God.  [21MR 223.1 1993]  
     And Christmas will soon be here. It is supposed that Christ was born on the 25th day of December, and for that reason it is celebrated as His birthday. But it is impossible for us to know upon what day He was born. You can know no more about that than the children of Israel could know where Moses was buried. The reason God has not revealed that fact is because you would have worshiped that day, as they would have worshiped the grave of Moses had they found it, and this is just what they have done with the day they supposed was the one on which Christ was born.  [21MR 223.2 1993]  
     Everybody is trying to find out how they can bring suitable gifts to one another. In the family the study is to know what next they can give. They have given something every year. Now what shall I give this year to the children, or to father and mother? But where are the Saviour’s poor? They are right before your doors.  [21MR 223.3 1993]  
     And He will say unto them on His left hand, “I was an hungred, and ye gave Me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took Me not in: naked, and ye clothed Me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited Me not. Then shall they also answer Him, saying, Lord, when saw we Thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto Thee? Then shall He answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to Me.” Matthew 25:42-45.  [21MR 223.4 1993]  
     Now, why is this so? It is because there is so much selfishness. Jesus Christ identified Himself with His suffering poor, and when we do the works of benevolence we are doing it unto Christ. I want to know how many of us are doing this kind of work. How many will keep Christmas aright? The wealthy bring gifts to their friends but they are rich still. Then how can this be a sacrifice to them? Then what shall we do to please God? I will tell you. If you would keep this day as you should, you would call upon the needy poor, and if they are in want of anything, supply that want.  [21MR 223.5 1993]  
     And when this is done, come and render an offering unto the Lord. It says to your own soul, Christ for my sake became poor that through His poverty I might be made rich. Jesus, by the offering of Himself, has brought this infinite Gift within our reach. You may bring a gift to Jesus that through your offerings others may go out in the vineyard and work to bring to God those for whom Jesus died.  [21MR 223.6 1993]  
     This responsibility rests upon each of us, that we regard Christ as first and last and best in everything. The best offering we can make to God after we give ourselves is our property. Jesus gave Himself without reserve for us. I am so grateful that we have such a precious example in the Bible.  [21MR 224.1 1993]  
     When Jesus was born, and Joseph and Mary came to the temple to do after the usual custom, they were poor and they could not bring a great offering to God. They brought two turtledoves, according to the law. The Lord had provided by law for the poor that they might bring an offering of two turtledoves, and they brought their simple offering for the child Jesus, who was the Son of the living God.  [21MR 224.2 1993]  
     When we bring an offering to God, what does He require? Is it a great gift? I will tell you what He requires; it is a gift according to what a man has, be it ever so simple. God will accept it according to that which you have. We can open our hearts to God whether we be rich or poor.  [21MR 224.3 1993]  
     I am so thankful that when Mary came she came with turtledoves. I am so thankful that such an offering to God should be accepted in return for His great gift to us.  [21MR 224.4 1993]  
     Just a little offering–two turtledoves! How simple the offering! Yet it is precious in the sight of God.  [21MR 224.5 1993]  
     But now Satan has managed to turn our offerings from God to one another, and thus has exalted self in His stead. He has interposed self in between the creature and the Creator, in order to shut out the large offerings as well as the little rivulets of personal offerings from flowing into the treasury of the Lord to carry forward His work of mercy and love to the world. He has turned in into a channel of selfishness, to purchase toys and trifles that will do your children no good, and to make larger gifts to one another. This is the work of Satan, that the great work of salvation might be hindered and God’s name might not receive the glory due to Him.  [21MR 224.6 1993]  
     We do not want the cause of God to go crippling along for want of means that are needed upon the right hand and upon the left. We want the little rivulets to be turned into the treasury. Let every one bring in an offering to God. Don’t you think that this is the way to observe Christmas? Don’t you think it is the best way, rather than that means should go into the treasuries of the ungodly?  [21MR 224.7 1993]  
     We do not have the gratitude we ought to have for the gift of God’s Son. When Joseph and Mary were at the temple, while the smoke was ascending from off the altar, their prayers were going up with thanksgiving to God that He had provided them with an offering to bring to Him. But how is it with us when the children come to their birthdays? Do we make an offering to God for His goodness and care over the child for another year? Is this the way we do? Or do we go out and buy a present for the child and by so doing cultivate in the child a spirit of selfishness?  [21MR 224.8 1993]  
     How much better it would be to teach the children, upon their birthday, that they should go to God with an offering upon that day. Teach them that they ought to lay up something to bring to God on their birthday, as a thank offering for His mercies over them through the year, and so keep God in their memory.  [21MR 225.1 1993]  
     Anciently the parents were required to teach the children the statutes and commandments of God, when they should rise up and when they should sit down and when they should walk by the way. You may teach them what God has done for them, how God preserved them from death while other children were falling with disease, and that God will expect to be remembered by them and will accept an offering from their hands. This is the way we should instruct our children and set the example ourselves.  [21MR 225.2 1993]  
     Satan is constantly at work to divert our minds from God, to bring us where we will glorify and honor self. Brethren and sisters, we want to have a change in this matter. It is serious business, this robbing God. There must be a change in this order of things. One of the greatest reasons for this state of things is this pride of dress, in the styles and fashions of the world. You want the first, the best, and last of everything to be given to Jesus Christ, and forsake this foolish spirit of fashion.  [21MR 225.3 1993]  
     This is the great day of humiliation before God. Your eternal welfare depends upon your course of action. You should weave this through the minds of your children, and impress them with the things of God. You have let your work occupy your whole attention.  [21MR 225.4 1993]  
     You have been more concerned with your work and drive in your household affairs than with teaching your children, beautifying and adorning their hearts, and giving them a beautiful character.  [21MR 225.5 1993]  
     Now there is a new year coming, and as the light is streaming from the open door, every one of us should thirst for more and more of its illuminating power because the earth is growing darker and darker every day. Many have not experienced the fullness of this light upon their heart. Fathers and mothers, it is your duty before your families to let the love of God into your hearts, that they may see that you are bound up with their eternal interests, that when they do anything that grieves you it grieves Jesus. Unless you are persevering in your efforts, unless you are working all the time, Satan will overcome you at last, for he never ceases his vigilance.  [21MR 225.6 1993]  
     We are to war against principalities. It is not a war against flesh and blood, but against wicked powers in high places. How can you do this? By every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. Just as sure as you look into that mirror that [remainder missing].–Ms 8, 1880.
Ellen G. White Estate
Silver Spring, Maryland
January 17, 1991. Entire extant Ms.  [21MR 226.1 1993]