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.
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. . . . 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.
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.
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.
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. . . .
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. . . .
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 . . . . If all, both old and young, will forgo giving presents to one another, and forgo 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.