Christmas is coming. May you all have wisdom to make it a precious season. . . . Let there be recorded in the heavenly books such a Christmas as has never yet been seen."—ELLEN G. WHITE in The Review and Herald, Dec. 9, 1884. "Come, brethren and sisters, come with your children, even the babes in your arms, and bring your offerings to God according to your ability. Make melody to Him in your hearts."—Ibid., Dec. 26, 1882.
Recognizing that there is no divine sanctity resting upon Christmas Day, we welcome further counsel on the matter of making this occasion one of joy and blessing to our children:
"The youth should be treated very carefully. They should not be left on Christmas to find their own amusement. . . . Parents can control this matter by turning the minds and the offerings of their children to God and His cause and the salvation of souls. The desire for amusement, instead of being quenched and arbitrarily ruled down, should be controlled and directed by painstaking effort upon the part of the parents. Their desire to make gifts may be turned into pure and holy channels."—Ibid., Dec. 9, 1884. "It is pleasant to receive a gift, however small, from those we love. It is an assurance that we are not forgotten, and seems to bind us to them a little closer. . . . It is right to bestow upon one another tokens of love and remembrance if we do not in this forget God, our best Friend. We should make our gifts such as will prove a real benefit to the receiver."—Ibid., Dec. 26, 1882.
The Spirit of Christmas
If this Christmas is to be a day such "as has never yet been seen, Christ and His work will receive our first love, devotion, and gifts." The world has so commercialized this day that its true spirit has been lost. It is celebrated in revelry and debauchery, with little thought of honoring the One who is to be remembered. The Christian must set a new pattern for it, a pattern of dignity and sacrificial interest in others. These lessons are urged upon the church during the gift season. We are to bring Christ into Christmas! When this is recognized, the average family will show restraint in showering gifts on its members. And even the little that is exchanged will then "prove a real benefit to the receiver."
Children are not helped by being deluged with gifts. Little ones become confused and weary, and seeds of selfishness are sown in their hearts by well-meaning relatives and friends. Adventists have been counseled to use our uplifting books for holiday gifts, books that will build character for eternity. Toys should have educational value. One gift of this character is of more value to a child than a whole array of cheap, nonsensical playthings. The Christian will not want to spend his money on toys or games with a modern comic or theatrical influence, for these foster worldliness.
How Shall We Spend Christmas?
This is an opportune time for a profitable discussion by the shepherdesses regarding definite plans for the church school, Sabbath school, and the home. Carol singing should not be overdone before the Christmas season actually begins. Let it be reserved for the real event, and you will be rewarded with delightful expectancy on the part of the little ones. Include the scriptural setting, well memorized, in relating the beautiful Christmas story. Choose high-class music that will develop in the youth an appreciation for the best, and do not become too dependent on radio and television. Why not plan to attend a sacred concert as a family? This will add interest to the holiday week and help to tie the family together.
Let us recommend a charming little book for the shepherdess library: Parsonage Doorway, by Anna Laura Gebhard, Abingdon-Cokesbury, New York. Although not written in an Adventist setting, this book will be of great interest to ministers' wives. Look for it in your town library.
The literary works of F. W. Boreham have long been considered classics. My Christmas Book, with the subtitle "A Handful of Myrrh, Aloes and Cassia," published by Zondervan Publishing House, will provide fascinating readings with an overseas tang. Perhaps you will want a copy of your own, and your ministerial husband might appreciate the hint.
Discussion Topics for the Group
- Scripture for family worship during the Christmas week.
- Ideas for the preschool child—making "pretty things" for Christmas.
- Good taste in seasonal decorating for the Sabbath school and the home.
- Healthful cooky recipes.
Christmas in the Heart
Christmas is more than gifts or carol singing
Or snow upon the roof or candlelight
Or greetings or the chime of church bells ringing
Across the silent night.
For Christmas is your love for those who love you,
Your faith that God and you are not apart;
It is your star, not in the night above you,
But shining in your heart.
—KATHERINE KILKEE GO, Dec., 1957
The Christmas season should leave behind an overtone of sweet heavenly peace. There should be a better preparation for life and a new appreciation for God's "unspeakable gift." Let every shepherdess find her own handful of myrrh, aloes, and cassia and present it to the Christ child. May this Christmastide linger in the memory of little children and youth as the happiest season of the year.