Christmas Address to the Young
By Ellen G. White
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 Savior. 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 Savior 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 Savior, 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.”
They were filled with joy; they could not keep to themselves the precious knowledge of the advent of the Redeemer, but 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 that had been spoken by the heavenly messengers. Glorifying and praising God, the shepherds returned to their flocks on the plains of Bethlehem. . . .
Special Interest Group
Those who love God should feel deeply interested in the children and youth. To them God can reveal His truth and salvation. Jesus calls the little ones that believe on Him the lambs of His flock. He has a special love for and interest in the children. Jesus has said, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me [let no one place any obstruction in the way of the children’s coming to Me]; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus has passed through the trials and griefs to which childhood is subject. He knows the sorrows of the young. By His Holy Spirit, He is drawing the hearts of the children to Himself, while Satan is working to keep them away from Him.
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 affections are the most ardent, the heart 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, who taketh away the sin of the world, and who can keep them by His divine grace from the ruin it works. 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 Savior 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 anyone 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. 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?
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?
Let the Hearts of All Respond
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. The work of redemption is a marvel to the angels of heaven. 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 to the place where the young child was, brought offerings of gold and frankincense and myrrh. When they found the Promised One, they worshiped Him. Children, you may ask, “What gifts can we bring to Jesus?” You can give Him your hearts. What offering is so sacred as the soul temple cleansed from its defilement of sin? Jesus stands knocking at the door of your hearts; will you let Him in? He says, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”
Will you let Jesus into your hearts? Will you clear away the rubbish, and throw open the door, and willingly, gladly welcome in your heavenly guest? I shall not need to plead with you to bring you thank-offerings to God if you will but let the Savior 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 is taken from the article “Christmas Address to the Young,” published in the Review and Herald, December 17, 1889.
Seventh-day Adventists believe that Ellen G. White (1827-1915) exercised the biblical gift of prophecy during more than 70 years of public ministry.