The Need of Guidance in Holiday Observance. -- I saw that our holidays should
not be spent in patterning after the world, yet they should not be passed by
unnoticed, for this will bring dissatisfaction to our children. On these days
when there is danger that our children will be exposed to evil influences and
become corrupted by the pleasures and excitement of the world, let the parents
study to get up something to take the place of more dangerous amusements. Give
your children to understand that you have their good and happiness in view.
Through the observance of holidays the people both of the world and of the
churches have been educated to believe that these lazy days are essential to
health and happiness, but the results reveal that they are full of evil.
We have tried earnestly to make the holidays as interesting as possible to
the youth and children, while changing this order of things. Our object has been
to keep them away from scenes of amusement among unbelievers.
Shall the Angel Record, "A Day Lost?" --After a day of pleasure
seeking is ended, where is the satisfaction to the pleasure seeker? As Christian
workers, whom have they helped to a better, higher, and purer life? What would
they see if they should look over the record the angel wrote? A day lost! To
their own souls a day lost, a day lost in the service of Christ, because no good
was accomplished. They may have other days but never that day which was idled
away in cheap, foolish talk, of girls with boys, and boys with girls. Never will these same opportunities offer themselves again. They had better
been doing the hardest kind of labour on that holiday. They did not make the
right use of their holiday, and it passed into eternity to confront them in the
judgement as a day misspent.
Birthdays--a Time to Praise God. --Under the Jewish economy on the birth of
children an offering was made to God, by His own appointment. Now we see parents
taking special pains to present gifts to their children upon their birthdays;
they make this an occasion of honouring the child, as though honour were due to
the human being. Satan has had his own way in these things; he has diverted the
minds and the gifts to human beings; thus the thoughts of the children are
turned to themselves, as if they were to be made the objects of special favour.
. . .
On birthday occasions the children should be taught that they have reason for
gratitude to God for His loving-kindness in preserving their lives for another
year. Precious lessons might thus be given. For life, health, food, and
clothing, no less than for the hope of eternal life, we are indebted to the
Giver of all mercies; and it is due to God to recognise His gifts and to present
our offerings of gratitude to our greatest benefactor. These birthday gifts are
recognised of Heaven.
A Time to Review the Year's Record. --Teach them to review the past year of
their life, to consider whether they would be glad to meet its record just as it
stands in the books of heaven. Encourage in them serious thoughts, whether their
deportment, their words, their works, are of a character pleasing to God. Have
they been making their lives more like Jesus, beautiful and lovely in the sight of God? Teach them the knowledge of the Lord, His ways, His precepts.
Making God's Cause First. --I have said to my family and my friends, I desire
that no one shall make me a birthday or Christmas gift, unless it be with
permission to pass it on into the Lord's treasury, to be appropriated in the
establishment of missions.
How Shall We Observe Thanksgiving? --Our Thanksgiving is approaching. Will it
be, as it has been in many instances, a thanksgiving to ourselves? Or will it be
a thanksgiving to God? Our Thanksgivings may be made seasons of great profit to
our own souls as well as to others if we improve this opportunity to remember
the poor among us. . . .
There are a hundred ways that can be devised to help the poor in so delicate
a manner as to make them feel that they are doing us a favour by receiving our
gifts and sympathy. We are to remember that it is more blessed to give than to
receive. The attentions of our brethren are most liberal to those whom they wish
to honour, and whose respect they desire, but who do not need their help at all.
Custom and fashion say, Give to those who will give to you; but this is not the
Bible rule of giving. The word of God declares against this way of gratifying
self in thus bestowing our gifts, and says, "He that giveth to the rich,
shall surely come to want."
Now a season is coming when we shall have our principles tested. Let us begin
to think what we can do for God's needy ones. We can make them through ourselves
the recipients of God's blessings. Think what widow, what orphan, what poor
family you can relieve, not in a way to make a great parade about the matter,
but be as a channel through which the Lord's substance shall flow as a blessing to His
poor. . . .
But this does not embrace all your duty. Make an offering to your best
Friend; acknowledge His bounties; show your gratitude for His favours; bring a
thank offering to God. . . . Brethren and sisters, eat a plain dinner on
Thanksgiving Day, and with the money you would spend in extras with which to
indulge the appetite, make a thank offering to God.
Let not any more Thanksgiving days be observed to please and gratify the
appetite and glorify self. We have reason for coming into the courts of the Lord
with offerings of gratitude that He has preserved our lives another year. . . .
If a feast is to be made, let it be for those who are in need.
A Day to Give Thanks. [* NOTE: PART OF A THANKSGIVING SERMON DELIVERED AT THE
BATTLE CREEK TABERNACLE, NOV. 27, 1884.]--I think we have something to be
thankful for. We ought to be glad and rejoice in God, for He has given us many
mercies. . . . We want this Thanksgiving to be all that it implies. Do not let
it be perverted, mingled with dross; but let it be what its name implies--giving
thanks. Let our voices ascend in praise.
Why Not Holidays Unto God? --Would it not be well for us to observe holidays
unto God, when we could revive in our minds the memory of His dealing with us?
Would it not be well to consider His past blessings, to remember the impressive
warnings that have come home to our souls so that we shall not forget God?
The world has many holidays, and men become engrossed with games, with horse races, with gambling, smoking, and
drunkenness. . . .
Shall not the people of God more frequently have holy convocations in which
to thank God for His rich blessings?
Holidays Afford Opportunity for Missionary Service. -- We want men in the
church who have ability to develop in the line of organizing and giving
practical work to young men and women in the line of relieving the wants of
humanity and working for the salvation of the souls of men, women, youth, and
children. It will not be possible for all to give their whole time to the work
because of the labour they must do to earn their daily living. Yet these have
their holidays and times that they can devote to Christian work and do good in
this way if they cannot give much of their means.
When you have a holiday, make it a pleasant and happy day for your children,
and make it also a pleasant day for the poor and the afflicted. Do not let the
day pass without bringing thanksgiving and thank offerings to Jesus.