God and anniversaries

 

    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.  [CS 295.2 1940]  
     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 cooperate with Christ and angels. The richest blessing of God would come into our churches, and many souls would be converted to the truth.–R. & H., Dec. 23, 1890.  [CS 295.3 1940]
     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]
Christmas Gifts for Christ.
     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]
           Birthday and Holiday Gifts.
     On birthday anniversaries and at the holiday season people are accustomed to make gifts to one another. The thoughts, the interest and devotion are directed to human beings, while God is forgotten. On birthday occasions the children are taught to expect gifts and attentions for themselves. Too often self-gratification is the lesson given. The mind is turned away from God to self. This is as Satan would have it; but Christ desires to teach us a different lesson.On these occasions he desires that our thoughts shall be turned to God’s great goodness in the work of salvation, and he invites us to unite with him in his mission of sacrifice. For our sake Christ gave himself to a life of self-denial and poverty. He was without luxuries, without adornment, without houses or lands. He said, “Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” He gave himself as a sinless offering, that men might have opportunity to return to God. Today the heavenly Watcher waits to see who will appreciate this inestimable gift. He is waiting to see who will show their gratitude to him by self-sacrifice for those he died to save.  [PH004 25.1 1898]
     The school in Avondale is to be a pattern for other schools which shall be established among our people. Games and amusements are the curse of the Colonies, and they must not be allowed in our school here. . . .  [8MR 74.4 1990]  
     Tuesday, April 17, 1900.–My heart was pained to hear that notwithstanding my talk before the school on Friday morning, when I read a testimony on amusements, and presented before the students the danger of games, the faculty had not wisdom or discernment to understand how to deepen the impression made. . . .  [8MR 74.5 1990]  
     One thing is to be plainly and decidedly carried out. Amusements are not to be a part of the education given to the students in our school in this place.  [8MR 74.6 1990]
     Wednesday, April 18, 1900.–The Lord has blessed me, greatly blessed me, as I have taken my position in regard to the amusement question and the games which have been unwisely introduced by the faculty, without one word of counsel with me. We should not forget the things which have happened in the past in America. Little did I suppose that these games would be introduced and carried on upon the anniversary of the opening of our school in Cooranbong. Was this the service of thanksgiving that should have been rendered to God? I feel so sorry as I think of this, and I am instructed to say, All these movements should be sharply rebuked; for there has been no sparing of instruction on this point.–Ms 92, 1900, pp. 6-8. (Diary, April 16 to 18, 1900.)
Released May 20, 1977.  [8MR 75.1 1990]