The Review and Herald

507/1902

December 17, 1889

Christmas Address to the Young

EGW

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 Saviour. 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 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. “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. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: 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.” RH December 17, 1889, par. 1

Dear children, shall not these precious words, coming from the lips of heavenly angels, find a response in our hearts? Shall they not awaken gladness and melody in the soul because Jesus has come to our world to bring back to God those who through sin were estranged from him? 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? Shall we with indifference turn from the salvation brought to light through Christ? RH December 17, 1889, par. 2

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.” RH December 17, 1889, par. 3

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. RH December 17, 1889, par. 4

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. The whole angelic host rejoiced and sung praises because salvation was presented as a free gift to fallen man. 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 out of their hearts. O, what reason have we to praise God that this wonderful revelation from heaven was made to humble men! It is not those who occupy high positions, who hold most honored places in the world, who are selected as bearers of God's message of peace and salvation, which is of the greatest interest to fallen men. The Lord has said, “Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.” RH December 17, 1889, par. 5

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. RH December 17, 1889, par. 6

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 over-look 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. 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? RH December 17, 1889, par. 7

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 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. RH December 17, 1889, par. 8

Mrs. E. G. White