December 24, 2008

To Us a Child is Born

2008 1536 page22 caphe 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. . . . All heaven was interested in the great event of Christ’s advent to earth. Heavenly messengers came to make known the birth of the longpromised . . . Saviour to the humble shepherds . . . watching their flocks by night on the plains of Bethlehem. . . . A radiant light [shone] in the starry heavens, which filled them with wonder and admiration. “And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon 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. . . . 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” [Luke 2:914, KJV]. . . .

Shall not these precious words . . . find a response in our hearts? Shall they not awaken gladness and melody in the soul because Jesus has come to our world . . . ? If the angels of heaven glorified God, and poured forth their joy in divine melody and sacred song over the plains of Bethlehem, shall our hearts be cold and unimpressible? . . .
Looking for Jesus
The astonished shepherds could scarcely comprehend the precious message borne to them by the angels, and when the radiant light had passed away, they said one to another, “Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass. . . . And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child” [Luke 2:1517, KJV].
2008 1536 page22They were filled with joy; . . . with glad enthusiasm they told to all whom they met the wonderful things they had seen and heard; and all who heard them, related the wonderful experience of the shepherds to the others, and many wondered and rejoiced, for they believed the words . . . spoken by the heavenly messengers. . . .
All heaven was moved on the occasion of the Saviour’s birth. The triumphant song which the shepherds heard was only an echo of the praise resounding round the throne on high. . . . After the proclamation song to the shepherds, the heavenly multitude veiled their faces from human sight, the flood of heavenly light passed away, the thrilling song of praise was no longer heard by the shepherds; but the remembrance of that song could never die. . . . O, what reason have we to praise God that this wonderful revelation from heaven was made to humble men! . . .
What Can I Give Him?
Those who love God should feel deeply interested in the children and youth. . . . Jesus calls the little ones that believe on him the lambs of his flock. He has a special love for ...the children. Jesus has said, [“Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 19:14, KJV)]. . . . By his Holy Spirit, he is drawing the hearts of the children to himself. . . . The most precious offering that the children can give to Jesus, is the freshness of their childhood. When children seek the Lord with the whole heart, he will be found of them. It is in these early years that . . . the heart [is] most susceptible of improvement. Everything that is seen and heard makes an impression on the youthful mind. The countenances looked upon, the words uttered, the actions performed, are not the least of the books the young read; for they have a decided influence upon the mind, heart, and character. Then how important it is that the children come to Jesus in their earliest years, and become lambs of his flock! How important it is that the older members of the church, by precept and example, lead them to Jesus.
…The better acquainted they become with Jesus, the more they will love him, and be able to do those things that are pleasing in his sight. God has sanctified childhood in that he gave his only begotten Son to become a child on earth.
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 overlook 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. . . . 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?
What Wondrous Love
The angels were amazed at the great love of Christ that led him to suffer and die on Calvary to rescue man from the power of Satan. . . . Why, then, are we, for whom so great a salvation has been provided, so indifferent, so cold and unloving? Children, you can do errands for Jesus which will be wholly acceptable to him. You can bring your little gifts and offerings to Christ. The wise men who were guided by the star . . . brought offerings of gold and frankincense and myrrh. . . . Children, you may ask, “What gifts can we bring to Jesus?” You can give him your hearts. . . . Jesus stands knocking at the door of your hearts; will you let him in? He says, “Behold, I stand at the door,and knock....” ...Will you ... throw open the door, and willingly, gladly welcome in your heavenly guest? I shall not need to plead with you to bring your thankofferings to God if you will but let the Saviour in. You will be so grateful, that you cannot be restrained from laying your gifts at the feet of Jesus. Let the hearts of all respond with exceeding joy for the priceless gift of the Son of God.

This article is excerpted from one that appeared in The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, now the Adventist Review, December 17, 1889. Seventh-day Adventists believe that Ellen G. White exercised the Biblical gift of prophecy during more than 70 years of public ministry.