December 3, 2018

Observing Christmas

God’s greatest gift is certainly worth remembering.

Ellen G. White

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. Luke 2:9, 10.

The 25th of December has long been commemorated as the day of Jesus’ birth, and . . . 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.

The Manifestation

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. . . .

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, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 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 2:15-17). . . .

What matchless love Jesus has manifested for a fallen world! If angels sang 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 everyone who loves Jesus. Let us teach them how Jesus came into the world to bring hope, comfort, peace, and happiness to all. . . . Let the hearts of all respond with exceeding joy for the priceless gift of the Son of God.—Review and Herald, Dec. 17, 1889.

God’s Unspeakable Gift

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. 2 Corinthians 9:15.

Last night the Christmas [Eve] celebration was held in the [Battle Creek] Tabernacle, and it passed off well—modestly, solemnly, and with gratitude expressed in everything done and said, because Jesus the Prince of Life had come to our world a babe in Bethlehem to be an offering for sin.

He came to fulfill the prediction of the prophets and seers, which He had instructed them to utter to fulfill the counsels of heaven, and in the great mission and work verify His own word. And for this, every soul is under the most solemn obligation and gratitude to God, that Jesus, the world’s Redeemer, has pledged Himself to accomplish the full salvation of every son and daughter of Adam. If they do not accept the heavenly gift, they have only themselves to blame.

The sacrifice was ample, wholly consistent with the justice and honor of God’s holy law. The Innocent suffered for the guilty, and this should call forth gratitude full and complete.

At half past ten [December 25] I spoke to those assembled at the Tabernacle. The Lord gave me most earnest words to speak. I tried to present the matter in the light of God’s Word, that the work of labor for the salvation of souls does not rest alone upon the delegated minister, but that to every [person] God had given his work. The Lord’s work is to be carried forward by the living members of Christ’s body, and in the great divine appointment of God each one is to be educated to act a part in the conversion of souls. He has enlisted in the army of the Lord, not for ease, not to study his own amusement, but to endure hardships as a faithful soldier of the cross of Christ. Every private must act his part, be vigilant, be courageous, be true.

After I had occupied about fifty minutes, many excellent testimonies were borne.

We returned home and called to our dinner, Fred Walling, my niece’s son, his wife, his wife’s mother, and they came with their two little ones, a babe of three months, and a boy of six years. These were strangers and poor, and needed this little encouragement.—Manuscript 24, Dec. 25, 1889, diary.

This excerpt was taken from This Day With God (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1979), pp. 360, 368. Seventh-day Adventists believe that Ellen G. White (1827-1915) exercised the biblical gift of prophecy during more than 70 years of public ministry.