The Review and Herald

334/1902

December 15, 1885

Holiday Gifts

EGW

The holiday season is at hand, and old and young are studying what they can bestow upon their friends as a token of remembrance. The world at large are devising gifts for earthly friends; shall we not remember our heavenly Benefactor? Will he not be pleased if we show that we have not forgotten him? While multitudes celebrate Christmas, there are few who show honor to Christ. The day is devoted to selfish indulgence, and the Redeemer's great love and sacrifice awaken no response. Let it not be so with us. Let the precious tokens of his love call forth an expression of gratitude in free-will offerings for his cause. RH December 15, 1885, par. 1

God is not honored by the practice of bestowing costly presents upon a few favorites because it is the custom. These favorites are seldom the Lord's poor. Many are really perplexed to decide what gifts they can select that will give pleasure to those who are abundantly supplied with the good things of this life. Thousands of dollars are needlessly spent every year on Christmas gifts. The means is lost to the cause of God. Not only so, but it gratifies vanity, encourages pride, and often occasions dissatisfaction and complaints because the gifts are not what was desired, or are not of the value expected. As Christians, we cannot honor a custom which is not approved of Heaven. All that we possess belongs to God, and he has made us his stewards. Let us not expend our means for idols to please the fancy and engage the affections of our friends, to the neglect of our best Friend,-the one to whom we owe everything. When tempted to purchase expensive ornaments or other needless articles, ask yourselves the questions “Can I do this to the glory of God?” Let not time and means be spent in preparing presents that will benefit neither giver nor receiver. Remember that God will call you to account for the manner in which you employ his gifts. RH December 15, 1885, par. 2

If all the means usually expended by our people at this holiday season were brought as an offering of gratitude to God, to be used in advancing his cause, what an amount would flow into the treasury. Who are willing this year to depart from the custom? Shall we not, old and young, forego the pleasure of making presents to one another, and let the money be invested in the Lord's work? Shall there not be in heaven a precious record of self-denial for Christ's sake? RH December 15, 1885, par. 3

Our children have learned to regard Christmas as a day of rejoicing, and we should find it a difficult matter to pass over this holiday without some attention. It may be made to serve a good purpose. The youth should not be left to find their own amusement in vanity and pleasure-seeking. If parents will make the necessary effort, the minds of the children may be directed to God, to his cause, and to the salvation of souls. Their desire to make gifts may be turned into channels of good to their fellow-men, to sustaining the work which Christ came to do. RH December 15, 1885, par. 4

On Christmas let the members of every church assemble, with offerings from willing hands and hearts,—the fruits of love and gratitude to God. Let all exert their influence and ability to make these gatherings attractive and interesting. See how much means you can gather to advance the work of the Lord. Let those who have heretofore planned for self, begin now to plan for the cause of God. On similar occasions in the past, you have taxed your inventive powers to prepare something that would surprise and gratify your friends. Be as earnest and persevering in rendering to God that which is his due. Let the children learn the blessedness of giving, by bringing their little gifts to add to the offerings of their parents. RH December 15, 1885, par. 5

I present before you the European missions as the object of your liberality. These missions are in great need of funds. The work must go forward. Every penny that can be spared should be invested in the cause. Let us see if this Christmas cannot show thousands, yes, tens of thousands, of dollars flowing into the treasury. RH December 15, 1885, par. 6

“God loveth a cheerful giver;” and if we with grateful hearts bring our gifts and offerings to him, “not grudgingly or of necessity,” his blessing will attend us, as he has promised: “I will open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing.” He will accept not only the gift, but the giver. And though it may have cost self-denial and sacrifice on our part, the approval of conscience and the blessing of Heaven will make this holiday season one of the happiest we have ever experienced. We may have such a spirit of love and joy in our hearts and homes as will make angels glad. RH December 15, 1885, par. 7

E. G. White.