Manuscript Releases, vol. 21 [Nos. 1501-1598]
MR No. 1546—How Shall We Celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas?
(Cir. 1880) First part missing.
“Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:17, 18. 21MR 222.1
There is something to come out from. You cannot mix or mingle with the world and at the same time be united with Jesus Christ. “Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” James 4:4. “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord.” John 15:18-20. 21MR 222.2
Here every specification is given us to show us that we must come out from the world, and how we must come out and be separate from the world, brethren and sisters, and let our influence be wholly on the Lord's side. I feel that this is of eternal importance. Satan besets the pathway of every one of us. If he can get you to love yourselves, to indulge inclination, to compromise your faith, then you are his servants. You cannot afford this. You do not want your names enrolled as those enlisted in his army. 21MR 222.3
Thanksgiving Day will be respected, but how is it used? This day's privileges are turned out of their proper course and it is made a day of feasting and gluttony. Is it a day to set your tables with luxuries and load them down with sweetmeats and condiments for you and yours? Christ said, “When thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.” Luke 14:13, 14. Now, you may not be at a loss to number how many Thanksgivings are kept according to this rule. 21MR 222.4
If you should bring an offering to God upon that day, do you not believe that God would be as well pleased as any one of your earthly friends would be with a present from you? Stop and think of this, and see if you cannot discern your duty and say, I will bring to God a thanksgiving gift for all the blessings He is bestowing upon me, for the rain in its season, for the sun that makes the seed to vegetate, for the laden boughs, and for the fruits of the harvest. 21MR 222.5
This may be the last Thanksgiving you may ever have in which to make a thank offering to God. Instead of gorging yourselves with the good things of this life, let us come to God and give Him, upon that day, a gift in gratitude for His loving-kindness, and so have a genuine thanksgiving day for God. Let there be no murmurings, no unpleasant feelings, no unholy thoughts, but turn your attention to God. 21MR 223.1
And Christmas will soon be here. It is supposed that Christ was born on the 25th day of December, and for that reason it is celebrated as His birthday. But it is impossible for us to know upon what day He was born. You can know no more about that than the children of Israel could know where Moses was buried. The reason God has not revealed that fact is because you would have worshiped that day, as they would have worshiped the grave of Moses had they found it, and this is just what they have done with the day they supposed was the one on which Christ was born. 21MR 223.2
Everybody is trying to find out how they can bring suitable gifts to one another. In the family the study is to know what next they can give. They have given something every year. Now what shall I give this year to the children, or to father and mother? But where are the Saviour's poor? They are right before your doors. 21MR 223.3
And He will say unto them on His left hand, “I was an hungred, and ye gave Me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took Me not in: naked, and ye clothed Me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited Me not. Then shall they also answer Him, saying, Lord, when saw we Thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto Thee? Then shall He answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to Me.” Matthew 25:42-45. 21MR 223.4
Now, why is this so? It is because there is so much selfishness. Jesus Christ identified Himself with His suffering poor, and when we do the works of benevolence we are doing it unto Christ. I want to know how many of us are doing this kind of work. How many will keep Christmas aright? The wealthy bring gifts to their friends but they are rich still. Then how can this be a sacrifice to them? Then what shall we do to please God? I will tell you. If you would keep this day as you should, you would call upon the needy poor, and if they are in want of anything, supply that want. 21MR 223.5
And when this is done, come and render an offering unto the Lord. It says to your own soul, Christ for my sake became poor that through His poverty I might be made rich. Jesus, by the offering of Himself, has brought this infinite Gift within our reach. You may bring a gift to Jesus that through your offerings others may go out in the vineyard and work to bring to God those for whom Jesus died. 21MR 223.6
This responsibility rests upon each of us, that we regard Christ as first and last and best in everything. The best offering we can make to God after we give ourselves is our property. Jesus gave Himself without reserve for us. I am so grateful that we have such a precious example in the Bible. 21MR 224.1
When Jesus was born, and Joseph and Mary came to the temple to do after the usual custom, they were poor and they could not bring a great offering to God. They brought two turtledoves, according to the law. The Lord had provided by law for the poor that they might bring an offering of two turtledoves, and they brought their simple offering for the child Jesus, who was the Son of the living God. 21MR 224.2
When we bring an offering to God, what does He require? Is it a great gift? I will tell you what He requires; it is a gift according to what a man has, be it ever so simple. God will accept it according to that which you have. We can open our hearts to God whether we be rich or poor. 21MR 224.3
I am so thankful that when Mary came she came with turtledoves. I am so thankful that such an offering to God should be accepted in return for His great gift to us. 21MR 224.4
Just a little offering—two turtledoves! How simple the offering! Yet it is precious in the sight of God. 21MR 224.5
But now Satan has managed to turn our offerings from God to one another, and thus has exalted self in His stead. He has interposed self in between the creature and the Creator, in order to shut out the large offerings as well as the little rivulets of personal offerings from flowing into the treasury of the Lord to carry forward His work of mercy and love to the world. He has turned it into a channel of selfishness, to purchase toys and trifles that will do your children no good, and to make larger gifts to one another. This is the work of Satan, that the great work of salvation might be hindered and God's name might not receive the glory due to Him. 21MR 224.6
We do not want the cause of God to go crippling along for want of means that are needed upon the right hand and upon the left. We want the little rivulets to be turned into the treasury. Let every one bring in an offering to God. Don't you think that this is the way to observe Christmas? Don't you think it is the best way, rather than that means should go into the treasuries of the ungodly? 21MR 224.7
We do not have the gratitude we ought to have for the gift of God's Son. When Joseph and Mary were at the temple, while the smoke was ascending from off the altar, their prayers were going up with thanksgiving to God that He had provided them with an offering to bring to Him. But how is it with us when the children come to their birthdays? Do we make an offering to God for His goodness and care over the child for another year? Is this the way we do? Or do we go out and buy a present for the child and by so doing cultivate in the child a spirit of selfishness? 21MR 224.8
How much better it would be to teach the children, upon their birthday, that they should go to God with an offering upon that day. Teach them that they ought to lay up something to bring to God on their birthday, as a thank offering for His mercies over them through the year, and so keep God in their memory. 21MR 225.1
Anciently the parents were required to teach the children the statutes and commandments of God, when they should rise up and when they should sit down and when they should walk by the way. You may teach them what God has done for them, how God preserved them from death while other children were falling with disease, and that God will expect to be remembered by them and will accept an offering from their hands. This is the way we should instruct our children and set the example ourselves. 21MR 225.2
Satan is constantly at work to divert our minds from God, to bring us where we will glorify and honor self. Brethren and sisters, we want to have a change in this matter. It is serious business, this robbing God. There must be a change in this order of things. One of the greatest reasons for this state of things is this pride of dress, in the styles and fashions of the world. You want the first, the best, and last of everything to be given to Jesus Christ, and forsake this foolish spirit of fashion. 21MR 225.3
This is the great day of humiliation before God. Your eternal welfare depends upon your course of action. You should weave this through the minds of your children, and impress them with the things of God. You have let your work occupy your whole attention. 21MR 225.4
You have been more concerned with your work and drive in your household affairs than with teaching your children, beautifying and adorning their hearts, and giving them a beautiful character. 21MR 225.5
Now there is a new year coming, and as the light is streaming from the open door, every one of us should thirst for more and more of its illuminating power because the earth is growing darker and darker every day. Many have not experienced the fullness of this light upon their heart. Fathers and mothers, it is your duty before your families to let the love of God into your hearts, that they may see that you are bound up with their eternal interests, that when they do anything that grieves you it grieves Jesus. Unless you are persevering in your efforts, unless you are working all the time, Satan will overcome you at last, for he never ceases his vigilance. 21MR 225.6
We are to war against principalities. It is not a war against flesh and blood, but against wicked powers in high places. How can you do this? By every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. Just as sure as you look into that mirror that [remainder missing].—Manuscript 8, 1880. 21MR 226.1
Ellen G. White Estate
Silver Spring, Maryland,
January 17, 1991.
Entire extant Ms.