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Sermon Notes - A Blessed Event, A Sacred Event

Here are the sermon notes...copy and paste...that I used as I preached a sermon about EGW and her view of the holidays.

Sermon Notes

Theme:           What about Christmas?
Title:               The Great Event - The Sacred Event
Topic:              Should we celebrate the holidays, particularly Christmas?
Answer:          Yes...
                       Supported from Scripture and Ellen White's Writings.


Texts:              Exodus 12:2,14,24-25, 42; Exodus 13:3,10
                              Esther 9:27-32, Luke 2:15, 24; Matthew 2:2, 11

EGW:          Ellen G. White Statements related to the observance of Christmas and holiday gifts.
                                                      White Estate Compilation
                                    How Shall We Celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas?
                                                      MR 21    aka MR No. 1546 from 1880
                                    Christmas Address to the Young
                                                      RH   December 17, 1889
                                    Holiday Gifts
                                                      RH December 26, 1882
                                    Christmas Gifts
                                                      RH  December 9, 1890
                                    Christ Our Hope
                                                      RH  December 20, 1892
                                    Represent Christ in Self Denial
                                                      RH  December 19, 1893
                                    Appeal for the Southern Field
                                                      RH  12/3, 12/10, 12/17, 12/24      1895
                                    Shall We Celebrate the Holidays?
                                                      RH  December 27, 1906

Speaker:  O. Kris Widmer: 
Person, Progeny, Partner, Parent, Poet, Painter, Pray-er and Pastor
Self, Son, Sweetie, Sire, Sonneteer, Sketcher, Supplicant, Shepherd

Date:  December 6, 2014
Place: Antioch, California

Introduction
1.   Today's Topic: What shall we do with holidays in general and Christmas specifically, given the links to Paganism?
2.   Occasionally I hear someone ask me that question.
a.    If Adventst don't keep Sunday because of paganism...
b.   Why do Adventist observe Christmas....paganism roots.
3.   It's been percolating in my brain for a few years.
4.   It was a topic Adventists have always discussed.
a.    Should we observe Christmas?    Yes or No?
b.   If Yes....How?
5.   Cover Art: the Manger...and Santa.
a.    Don't be offended!
b.   It's just a picture.
c.    Annual Competition between Santa and the Savior!
6.   The Christmas Season gets earlier...decorations appear in stores
a.    More Commercialized
b.   Halloween:  7.4 Billion Dollars
                                              i.     350 Million on Pet Costumes
c.    Christmas:   600 Billion Dollars.
d.   After Labor Day
e.    There are year-round Christmas stores...too.
f.     Thanksgiving:   Let's eat...then get ready for....
g.    Black Friday!
h.   Cyber Monday!
i.      Giving Tuesday  (#givingtuesday) - charities.
j.      Only ____ Shopping Days till Christmas
7.   What are your Christmas Goals?
a.    Most Lights on Your Block / in Your city?
b.   Most Parties?
c.    Tree Lighting Ceremonies.?
d.   Bigger and Taller Tree for the City Center/White House.
8.   Meanwhile....the Salvation Army reports
a.    Shortage of Kettle Ringer Attendants.
b.   Some Paid
c.    Most Volunteer!
9.   Many Voices
a.    Some:    No Jesus awareness:  North Pole Visitor.
b.   Some:   "Keep the Christ in Christmas" - Too Commercial!
c.    Some:  Do Up Christmas Big
                                              i.     Liturgical Year:   Advent to Pentecost
                                            ii.     Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Presentation, Lent, Easter, Pentecost.
                                          iii.     RCC:  +  Lots of days for Mary and the Saints.
                                          iv.     Not Adventist Heritage - Radical Reformation
d.   Some:  Get the Church out of Christmas:  Pagan.
                                              i.     Avoid the World/Pagan
                                            ii.     All Holidays....GONE.
                                          iii.     Birthday's Too!
                                          iv.     Jehovah's Witnesses
                                            v.     World Wide Church of God
                                          vi.     There are two Adventist voices on this that I found this week....1909 and 1914.  Printed in the Advent Review and Sabbath Herald (Fragments in the EGW Facsimiles"
10.             Fact:   Jesus wasn't born Dec 25.
a.    Shepherds don't keep flocks outside in December in Palestine.   Like here...it's too cold there at that time.
b.   Census Calculations: Place it earlier
                                              i.     Rome...practical empire...wouldn't try to get the populace to their home cities over wet/muddy roman roads.
                                            ii.     Perhaps August to Early October.
                                          iii.     Some say even in the Spring Time.
c.    Date comes from later merger of Roman Paganism with Christian Thought....Winter Solstice is Dec 21.
d.   December 25...last day of the Roman "Saturnalia"
e.    The idea that he was born in the bleak mid winter?  NOPE.
f.     The idea that he was born at midnight?   NOPE.



11.             Aside about Birthdays.
                                              i.     Don't Observe Birthdays:
1.   Pharaoh’s Birthday - Death of the Baker   Genesis 40:20
2.   Herod's Birthday resulted in the death of god's prophet.  Matthew 14:1 ff
3.   Birthday's are death traps.
4.   Job lamented the day of his birth.  Job 3
5.   The day of ones death is better than one's birth.         Ecclesiastes 7:1.
                                            ii.     Yes...Observe Birthdays.
1.   Isaac's birth:  "Laughter"
2.   Joseph's birth was a fantastic event.
3.   Births from the Barren Women
a.    Isaac - Sarah was barren.
b.   Jacob/Esau - Rebekah was Barren
c.    Joseph - Rachel was Barren
d.   Sampson - Mrs. Manoah was Barren
e.    Samuel - Hannah was Barren
f.     (Michael - Barren...from David's Rejection)
g.    Little Boy Raised from Dead - Shunammite was Barren
h.   Possibly Others...
                                                                                                    i.     Anna, Dorcas, Huldah, Esther, Sehosheba, Joanna, Miriam, Priscilla, Woman at the Well, Sapphira, Vashti, Sheerah, Widow/2 pennies.
i.      John the Baptist - Elizabeth was Barren
j.      Jesus - Mary was a virgin!
4.   John the Baptist
5.   Jesus' birth...Matthew, Luke, John + other NT references.   Rev 12:1-4   Woman with child....gave birth!
6.   Birth's are happy events in the Bible!   Blessed Events!



12.             Aside about Jewish Feasts and Keeping Them.
a.    Keep the Feasts of Israel
b.   But....Christ fulfilled the Shadows....Col 2:17
c.    1 Corinthians 5:7 - Christ our Passover slain for us.
d.   Acts:   has references of the Apostles keeping Jewish Days...getting to Jerusalem...for the feast or the fast.
e.    I think we can observe them...for educational purposes.
f.     Discover the Jewish/Christian links.
13.              So....Are we left with no occasions of religious remembrance?
a.    Nothing shared by Catholics and other Christians
b.   Nothing from the Ancient Jews...fulfilled by Christ.
14.                Fact:   Christmas is Here to Stay.
a.    Pastor Dan Wilson (SDA Pastor) Nova Scotia.
                                              i.     Christmas is here...deal with it.
                                            ii.     Talk Jesus
                                          iii.     Demonstrate Giving
                                          iv.     Outreach:  Some have never heard the story.
b.   How Counter Cultural shall we be?
c.    You can sing Christmas Carols in August...but your friends will think you're a little strange.
d.   (Note: at Redwood Camp Meeting...I used to lead Song Service...and lead in a few Christmas Carols...for the Camp Congregation is NEVER together in December...only July!)
15.                 A Check of A Few SDA Hymnals - Christmas Hymnody Increases.
a.    (Songs of the Birth or Whole Life (Tell Me the Story of Jesus))
b.   Hymns and Tunes: 1886 - 8 tunes and 16 texts.
c.    Hymnal 1941:  15 Songs
d.   SDAH:  1985: (30 years old next year) 37 Songs
e.    Celebration Hymnal:  55
f.     Hymns for the Family of God:  50



16.             What is your hermeneutic?
a.    Restriction
                                              i.     What the Bible says to do....do.  
                                            ii.     Do not do what the Bible doesn't say to do.
                                          iii.     Applied to Women's Ordination
1.   Jesus' apostles were all male.
2.   So...Ministers must be male.
3.   Problem:  Jesus apostles were also HEBREW.
4.   Using this logic: 
5.   All pastor's must be Hebrew.
6.   If it limits the gender...it also limits the nationality.
7.   Must not be handicapped: Lev 21:18-20
8.   Must not be single:  1 Tim 3 - Must be a husband.
9.   Must be father of at least 2:  "Children"
10.                 Nope:  Jesus is the fulfillment of the priesthood....and now we have the priesthood of all believers.:  Men and Women are called by God to serve and train and equip the church.
                                          iv.     Problem:   The Bible doesn't instruct us to...
a.    drive a car.
b.   use a smart phone
c.    use facebook
d.   buy clothes.   (Your supposed to make your clothes in the bible:  sheep, shear, spin, weave, wear...)   Joseph's coat of colors...
e.    eat broccoli or pluots or potatoes.
f.     care for dogs or cats.
                                                                                                    i.     by Bible standards: Both Unclean
                                                                                                  ii.     Dogs won't be in heaven:  Rev 22:15
                                                                                                iii.     Cats worshipped in Egypt
                                                                                                iv.     Jesus never had a dog or cat that we know of.  (Argument from Silence)



b.   Cultural Aware
                                              i.     What the Bible says....I'll do...unless the bible does away it with or is culturally changed.
                                            ii.     ie:  Do not wear mixed fabric. (Leviticus)
                                          iii.     ie:  Woman must wear a head covering in church. (1 Cor 11)
                                          iv.     ie:  Men without a head covering in God's presence (Same)  and during the national anthem.  (Removing hat was/is a sign of respect.)
                                            v.     ie:  A Woman is unclean during menstruation...seclusion. (Leviticus)
                                          vi.     Kill Adulterers
                                        vii.     Kill Sabbath Breakers
                                      viii.     Bible says...in places..."Wine is blessed by God."   But we have reached the conclusion that abstinence is the best temperance policy.
                                          ix.     Face it:    There are many things the Bible commands...that we don't do. 
                                            x.     (Culturally Modified...not against God's principles.)
c.    Liberty
                                              i.     What the Bible doesn't forbid...Do.  
                                            ii.     Do not do what the Bible forbids.
                                          iii.     Bible doesn't forbid electricity.
                                          iv.     Bible doesn't forbid ipads.
                                            v.     Bible doesn't forbid holidays...we may have different holidays...and celebrate at different times...but the Bible is silent on many things.
                                          vi.     Bible Doesn't Forbid Remembering/Celebrating Jesus' Birth, Life, Death, Resurrection.



17.             Are You Going on a Pagan Hunt?
a.    Well...Go all the way!
b.   Why stop with Christmas?
c.    Wedding Ceremonies
d.   Wedding Rings
e.    Funerals and Flowers
                                              i.     Before Joseph:   Bodies  Wrapped...and Buried
                                            ii.     Note:  Joseph allowed Jacob to be embalmed...and himself...even though it's not the Abrahamic way.
                                          iii.     so...Cremation is O.K.
                                          iv.     Later:  Wrapped and Buried.
                                            v.     No Caskets are listed for people.
                                          vi.     Rock Tombs with Rolling Rock Doors.
                                        vii.     No Names on a Tombstone.
f.     Cremation - Pagan Origin...
g.    Statues
h.   Money
i.     Names of the Months - Janus-ary.
j.     Names of the Week Days - Thors-day for Example
k.   Chocolate (from the Aztecs)
l.      Shaving (Bible forbids it)
m. Musical Instruments
n.   Board Games (Egypt)
o.   Shaking Hands
p.   Note Paul's link to Paganism:  Mars Hill:   Acts 17
                                              i.     The Unknown God.
                                            ii.     I want to make Him known to you.
                                          iii.     Brilliant!
                                          iv.     Christians can build on pagan ideas.



18.                 Disputable Matters (NIV) Romans 14:1  - Romans 14
a.    vs 5 - one man regards one day above another
b.   vs 5 - another regards every day alike.
                                              i.     Sabbath?
                                            ii.     Jewish Feast Day?...and the Gentiles
c.    vs 5 - Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind.
d.   vs 10 - we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.
e.    vs 12 - each one of us shall give account of himself to God.
f.     vs 13 - Therefore...let us not judge one another...
g.    vs 15 - Hurting your brother with food...
h.   vs 17 - the Kingdom of God is not ________________ but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
i.      vs 19 - Pursue the things that make for peace and the building up of one another.
j.      vs 20 - Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food.
19.             Bible Christians seek to be Biblically Conscientious.
a.    We want to avoid paganism...merged with faith.
b.   We realize the Jewish holidays are done away with ....in Christ.
c.    Christ our Passover...slain for us.
20.             My Bias
a.    Christmas a part of my life Growing Up
b.   Christmas Concerts in School - Handel's Messiah Portions
c.    Church Choir Special Numbers
d.   Once:  Angel Voice Back Stage at La Sierra University Progam.
e.    Once:  15 or so Church Youth...a Holiday Play.
f.     Academy Chorale
g.    What Church hasn't hosted a Christmas Pageant!
                                              i.     Angel to Mary/Joseph, Decree, Inkeeper, Birth, Shepherds, Magi, Angel Choir...
h.   Crystal Cathedral:  The Glory of Christmas:   The Ultimate Christmas Pageant. (Angels on cables!)
i.      I usually preach about Jesus birth in December.
j.      We have a Christmas Social and Concert and Decorations.
21.             The Calendar of Holidays: Is Full
a.    New Years - January 1
                                              i.     You don't and you don't know the words or the concept behind Auld Ang Sine, but still you might stay up until mid-night, and watch the Rose Parade and catch a few college football games.
b.   Martin Luther King Jr. Day - 3rd Sunday in January
                                              i.     He wasn't your leader....but you like having the day off from school or work.
c.             Ground Hog Day - Feb 2
                                              i.     Origins:  German Folklore:   Sacred Bear or Badger prognosticates the weather.
                                            ii.     Parallels to Pagan Festival of Imbolc.
                                          iii.     Groundhog emerges...in practical terms the little critter is dragged from it's cage.
                                          iv.     If it's cloudy...spring weather will come early.
                                            v.     If it sees it's shadow...there will be 6 more weeks of cold weather.
                                          vi.     First Day of Spring:  Mar 21 is still 50 days away...inclusive reconing.
                                        vii.     Opposite of Observation.
                                      viii.     Not a legal holiday, but still its printed on your calendar.
                                          ix.     Fact:   You live in California...you don't care how many more weeks of winter there are up North and/or back East - Because by February it has stopped raining mostly anyway.
d.            Valentine's Day - Feb 14
                                              i.     You don't believe in the Pagan Eros (morphed into Cupid)...but still you buy your spouse a card - chocolate - flowers - meal out.
e.    Presidents Day - Feb 21
                                              i.     You like having the day off...school/work.
f.                       Elmer Widmer's Death Day - Feb 20
g.             St. Patrick's Day - March 17
                                              i.     You are not Irish.
                                            ii.     You are not a Drinker
                                          iii.     But still...you wear something green to school or work that day.
h.            Palm Sunday - Varies
i.               Maundy Thursday - Varies
j.               Good Friday - Varies
k.             Passover Begins - Varies
l.               Easter Sunday - Varies
m.          Earth Day - April 22
                                              i.     Hopefully your home and business recycle...all the time.
n.            Mother's Day - 2nd Sun in May
                                              i.     Invented by Greeting Card Industry and Flower Industry...but still it's a goodtime to express some love to Mom.
o.   Memorial Day - Last Monday in May
                                              i.     It's supposed to be to honor the fallen war heros.
                                            ii.     You use it to BBQ. or Shop or take a Long Weekend.
p.            Father's Day - 3rd Sun in June
                                              i.     Invented by Greeting Card Industry and Flower Industry...but still it's a goodtime to express some love to Dad. (but he doesn't need another tie.)
q.   Independence Day - July 4
                                              i.     Signing of the Declaration!
                                            ii.     Cook Out / Picnic / Fireworks
r.    Labor Day - First Monday in September
                                              i.     Honor the Worker....not the boss.
                                            ii.     But still the Boss gets the day off.
s.             Grandparents Day
                                              i.     Greeting Card Company and Flower Company
t.              Patriot Day - September 11 (from 9/11/2001)
                                              i.     Remember 9/11
                                            ii.     A New Holiday
u.            Columbus Day - 2nd Monday in October
v.             Halloween - October 31
                                              i.     You believe the dead are dead.
                                            ii.     But still you may pass out candy at your door to your neighbor children.
w.           Election Day - First Tuesday in November
x.    Veteran's Day - November 11
                                              i.     Legal Holiday
                                            ii.     You may have to work.
y.    Thanksgiving Day - Last Thursday in November
                                              i.     You are not a believer.
                                            ii.     Watch the Big Balloon Parade
                                          iii.     Big Dinner
                                          iv.     Football Games
                                            v.     Get Ready to Shop
                                          vi.     Did you remember to pray?
z.             Pearl Harbor Day - December 7, 1941
                                              i.     Not a Holiday
                                            ii.     But a day of Remembrance.
                                          iii.     Two Movies you can watch.
1.   Recent - Pearl Harbor
2.   Older - Tora, Tora, Tora
aa.                  Christmas Day - December 25
                                              i.     You have shopped.
                                            ii.     You have over-spent
                                          iii.     You have decorated
                                          iv.     You have hung stockings
                                            v.     You have baked/cooked
                                          vi.     You have partied
                                        vii.     You have worshipped!
                                      viii.     It's Jesus' birthday...did you get HIM anything?
bb.                 Other Days:  Did I forget any other days?
                                              i.     Bosses Day
                                            ii.     Administrative Professional Day (Secretary Day)
cc.                Unroll 6 Page List.
Adventist Practice: 

Australian Record Poll  2/13/2013.
a.    How shall we celebrate Christmas?
b.   59%: Ignore it.  It's Pagan.
c.    22%:  Embrace It.
d.   12%:  Use it Witness
e.    7%:  Focus on Charity
f.     Interesting!

Columbia Union Visitor 2012 Poll   USA
a.    Do you put us a Christmas Tree
b.   91% - yes
c.    9% - no

Church Practice
a.    Sermons
                                              i.     This One
b.   Concerts
                                            ii.     Dec 6 - Heritage Singers at English Oaks
                                          iii.     Dec 13 - Korean Choir Festival
                                          iv.     Dec 18 - HCS - Bethlehem Village!    Free!
                                            v.     Dec 19 - Fountain View at English Oaks
                                          vi.     Dec 20 - Church Family Musical
c.    Socials
                                        vii.     Dec 20  5 p.m.    Social Committee
d.   Service -
                                      viii.     Visit a Senior Complex
                                          ix.     2012 - NCC Office: instead of an office party...donated the morning to 3 community organizations with volunteer labor.
                                            x.     Pack Boxes for Operation Christmas Child
                                          xi.     Women's Ministry:   Gift Cards  Angel Tree
e.    Outreach - Bethlehem Villages
                                        xii.     Shenendoa Valley Academy
                                      xiii.     100 Volunteers
                                      xiv.     2500 Visitors
                                        xv.     Intro in the Church
                                      xvi.     Group Departure to the "Village"
                                    xvii.     Ending:  Hot Cider, Sharing, Literature, Homily
                                  xviii.     + Roseville California
                                      xix.     + General Conference Headquarters
1.   Adventist Education Guidelines

South Western Union....March 1978
f.     What do we do with the Holidays?
g.    Opportunity to teach character development and service for others.
h.   Decorating and Service Options for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentines day, Easter
i.      Our Pre School: Halloween:  = Noah's Ark Day...come as an animal!
















Bible Reasoning:

1.   God's actions call for new days of remembrance.
a.    Exodus 12 - Observe and Remember the Passover.
                                              i.     vs 2 - This shall be the beginning of month for you.   First month of the year.
                                            ii.     vs 14 - this day shall be a memorial for you.
                                          iii.     vs 24 - observe this event...forever.
                                          iv.     vs 25 - observe this rite...
1.   vs 26 - when your children ask....
2.   vs 27 - you shall tell them....
                                            v.     vs 42 - a night to be observed.
b.   Exodus 13:
                                              i.     vs 3 - Remember this day.
                                            ii.     vs  10 - keep this ordinance at it's appointed time from year to year.
c.    Esther 9:27-32
                                              i.     God did something new...saved Judah from Persian death decree.
                                            ii.     Purim Festival Instituted.
                                          iii.     Add a God Focused God Remembering Holiday...it's O.K.
2.   Incarnation/Birth in 3 Gospels
a.    Matthew
b.   Luke
c.    John - In the beginning....Word made flesh.
3.   Luke 2:15
a.    The Shepherds were told to find the child.
b.   Let's Go....
4.   Angels sang!
a.    Job 38 - at creation
b.   Luke 2 - at birth
c.    EGW  "If angels sung because the Savior 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.?"   RH 12/17/1889 par 7
d.   Answer:  YES.
5.   Luke 2:24
a.    Like Mary...bring a gift...how ever poor to the temple.
6.   Matthew 2:2, 11
a.    Heavenly Angels....in the form of a star...guided them to see the child.    Take Note of the Child.
b.   Like Magi - Christmas is about worshiping HIM.
c.    Like Magi...bring gifts....to Jesus (and his church)
7.   So.....
a.    If angels came to tell Zacharias.   "It's time for the Messiah...you're going to be the parents of this King's "herald."
b.   If angels came to Mary...."It's time for Messiah...you are going to be His mother."
c.    If angels came to Shepherds...to make sure someone from the human family would come and see him....
d.   If angels guided Magi with 3 gifts...to finance the family for their refugee years.
e.    If the Holy Spirit told Simeon  "get to the temple today...He'll be there!"
f.     If the Holy Spirit told Anna "today in your temple ministry...you'll see Messiah!"
g.    Then...perhaps we should take notice!   Pick a day, a seaons to recall these events...and be amazed/impressed/joyful.
8.   John 6:38  "I came down from heaven to do the work of him who sent me."
9.   2 Corinthians 8:9   For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.
10.                 Galatians 4:4-7 - "When the fullness of time was come, God sent forth his son, born of a woman..."
11.                 Philippians 2:  "He emptied himself...taking the form of a servant."
12.                 John 3:16 - For God So Loved the World...He GAVE!  (Ellen White's favorite verse in her December articles.)
13.                 Revelation 12:1-5 - A Woman gave birth to a ruling child.
14.                 So....
a.    We establish that Jesus is the focus of Scripture.
b.   We establish that Jesus' birth is a key event.
c.    We should dwell on every aspect of His Salvation
                                              i.     Eternal Word of God
                                            ii.     Creator of All Things
                                          iii.     Prophecies of Him.
                                          iv.     Birth in Humility
                                            v.     Earthly Ministry in Love
                                          vi.     Death in Rejection
                                        vii.     Resurrection in Triumph
                                      viii.     Ascension in the Clouds
                                          ix.     Ministry in Heavenly Sanctuary Priesthood
                                            x.     Return in Glory
                                          xi.     Recreation of Earth
d.  The Nativity Story is essential to Salvation Theology.
e.    The Question is the one who would ignore Dec 25 and the season.
                                              i.     When will you do this?  
                                            ii.     Is it O.K. to do it at Christmas time...when others are doing it.
                                          iii.     Something people have done for the last 1600 years.




Ellen White: 

One of many Adventist founders.
The most influential Adventist minister.
Ordination Credentials
Woman: Mother of 4...seemed to manage a world wide prophetic calling, wife and mother and grandma...just fine!

2,000  Visions

Inspired:   But:  not above the Bible.
      Bible is Authoritative.
      Ellen White is Informative and Normative

Bible...then EGW.  

So:   Question:   What is her counsel about Christmas?

By The Way:     Spring of 2015 - Next Year. -
Smithsonian Magazine lists her as one of the 10 most influential American Religious Figures in their list of the 100 most influential Americans of all.  They gave her the biggest coverage - a 2 Page Spread.


There is Compilation Document by the White Estate Document  1962/1989.....A Starting Place.....  (40 Copies)

My Starting Place....
Then I went digging....

Handout!

I'm not done.

A Few Key Quotations
1.  ST 12/1/1890 -
a.  In order to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Christ, it is essential that you meditate much upon the great themes of redemption. You should ask yourself why Christ has taken humanity upon himself, why he suffered upon the cross, why he bore the sins of men, why he was made sin and righteousness for us. You should study to know why he ascended to heaven in the nature of man, and what is his work for us today.   {ST December 1, 1890, par. 2}
2.   RH  12/24/1872 
a.    EGW was 45 that year.
b.   "The advent of Christ was the greatest event which had taken place since the creation of the world."
c.    Greater than
a.    The Flood
b.   The Call of Abraham
c.    The Exodus - Passover
d.   The Giving of the Law - Mt. Sinai
e.    The Setting up of the Sanctuary
f.     The Prophetic Gift: Samuel and Beyond.
g.    The Kingdom
h.   The Building of the Temple
i.      The Visions of Daniel.
j.      The Return from Exile!
k.    The Rebuilding of the Temple
d.   Remember:   A New Testament Theme
a.    Jesus is GREATER THAN....______________
b.   Moses
c.    Abraham
d.   Jonah
e.    David
f.     etc.
b.   4 Great Events (a Chiasm)...all involving Jesus.
a.    Creation
b.   First Advent
c.    Second Advent
d.   Recreation
3.   RH 12/20/1892   Christ our Hope
a.  Par 4- But there is hope for every one; for “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If the love of God is not appreciated, and does not become an abiding principle in the hard heart to soften and subdue the soul, we are utterly lost. The Lord has no reserve power with which to influence man. He can give no greater manifestation of his love than that which he has given. Heaven’s richest gift has been freely offered for your acceptance. If the exhibition of the love of Jesus does not melt and subdue your heart, by what means can you be reached? Has the love of Christ failed to bring forth an earnest response of love and gratitude? Then let it not remain in this condition of hardness another day. Open your heart, and receive Christ, the best gift of heaven. Let not cruel unbelief lead you to refuse the heaven-sent gift. Let not Christ say of you, “Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life.”
4.   RH - 12/17/1889  Christmas Address to the Young
a.    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.



5.   RH - 12/8/1887 - Christmas Gifts for Christ
a.  Christmas and New Year’s will soon be here, and what plans are we making in reference to them? How shall we employ them so that we may be workers together with God? The people in general celebrate the professed anniversary of the Saviour’s birth, by feasting and merriment, and by making gifts to earthly friends. Time, thought, and money are devoted to these things, and Christ and his cause are neglected. The very day chosen to honor Christ is devoted by the many to honoring and pleasing themselves. Appointed to keep the Saviour in remembrance, it is spent in causing him to be forgotten. {ST December 8, 1887, par. 1}
b.  The Christian should pursue a course the opposite of this. At these seasons, God’s grace is brought before us in a special manner. We are bidden not only to recall the manifold blessings of the year, the rich gifts which Providence has so bounteously bestowed, but above all to remember the priceless gift of God’s dear Son. Here is an exhaustless theme for thought. The perfection of our Saviour’s character awakens the admiration of angels. The brightest and most exalted of the sons of the morning heralded his glory at creation, and with songs of gladness announced his birth. They veil their faces before him as he sits upon his throne; they cast their crowns at his feet, and sing his triumphs as they behold his resplendent glory. Yet this glorious Being loved the poor sinner, and took upon him the form of a servant, that he might suffer and die in man’s behalf. Jesus might have remained at the Father’s right hand, wearing the kingly crown and royal robes; but He chose to exchange all the riches, honor, and glory of Heaven for the poverty of humanity, and his station of high command for (the stench of Bethlehem, the rejection of Nazareth and Jerusalem, OKW additions) the anguish of Gethsemane, and the humiliation and agony of Calvary. {ST December 8, 1887, par. 2}

I went digging.
What did Mrs. Ellen White publish about...during the holidays.
Did she ignore Christmas?
    A Good time to Talk about Dress Reform or Diet Changes?
Did she seek to turn Christmas away from My Gifts to God's Gift?
    (Yes...she did)
Did she seek to convince people to give a gift to God at Christmas?
    (Yes...she did!)

I looked at the Big Green Books!  (5 of 6)
I looked at Advent Review and Sabbath Herald Articles....
35 years of writing.
Then I started on Signs of the Times (Online)
         That is incomplete at the current time.

At Christmas...Ellen White wrote about Jesus!
     The Incarnation and the Condescension
                                                      of the Son of God.

1.   RH December 17 1872 - The Advent of the Christ
2.   RH  Dec 24 1872 - The Advent of the Christ 2
a.    Ellen White was 45 years of age.
b.   "The advent of Christ was the greatest event which had taken place since the creation of the world."
3.   RH  Nov 21 1878 - Holiday Presents
a.    53+ Col Inches
4.   RH  Dec 11, 1879 - The Holidays
a.    36+ Col Inches
5.   Manuscript 8 - 1880   (MR 21, page 222 ff) or (MR 1546)
a.    "How shall we Celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas?"
b.   Touches on Thanksgiving, Christmas, Birthdays and New Years.
6.   RH 1/4/1881  "The New Year"
a.    Par 4 and 5   --  In the interchange of presents at the commencement of the new year, we trust that our people, not only at Battle Creek but in all other places, will remember the wants of God’s cause. The Lord 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. There are but few whose chief interest at this holiday season is to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and lift up the discouraged and oppressed. 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. Let the money usually expended for these gifts, flow into the Lord’s treasury. When tempted to purchase expensive ornaments, or other needless articles to please the eye and indulge the fancy, let every one ask himself, “Can I do this to the glory of God, or is it merely to please my friends?” How many, at the commencement of the new year, consider their indebtedness to God while they are making their holiday presents?{RH January 4, 1881, Art. C, par. 4}
b.   There is no harm in presenting to our friends gifts which they really need. But I entreat you, my brethren and sisters, do not, because it is the custom, bestow gifts upon those who have no real need, while you do little for the poor, and entirely neglect to make your offerings to God. 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 affection of our friends, while we at the same time neglect our best Friend,—the one to whom we owe everything.
7.   RH  12/26/1882 - Holiday Gifts
a.    57 Col Inches
b.   And though it may have cost self-denial and sacrifice on our part, the approval of our conscience and the blessing of Heaven will make this holiday season one of the happiest we have ever experienced.{RH December 26, 1882, par. 17}
c.    While urging upon all the duty of first bringing their offerings to God, I would not wholly condemn the practice of making Christmas and New Years gifts to our friends. 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. I would recommend such books as will be an aid in understanding the word of God, or that will increase our love for its precepts.
8.   RH  1/3/1882 - A Happy New Year
a.    It's one thing to say "Happy New Year"...it is another thing to make others new year happy  "The Poor"
b.   "Let those who would have a happy new year, seek to honor God and make all around them happy."
9.   RH Jan 29, 1884 - Sabbath School Reunion at Healdsburg, CA  (And this is in the Starting Point Document- White Estate)  (EGW is 58 yrs of age.  She'd been a widow for 3.5 years - Aug. 1881.)
a. At the close of my long journey East, I reached my home in time to spend New Year’s eve in Healdsburg. The College hall had been fitted up for a Sabbath-school reunion. Cypress wreaths, autumn leaves, evergreens, and flowers were tastefully arranged; and a large bell of evergreens hung from the arched doorway at the entrance to the room. The tree was well loaded with donations, which were to be used for the benefit of the poor, and to help purchase a bell. Except in a few instances, the names of the donors were not given; but appropriate Bible texts and mottoes were read as the gifts were taken down from the tree. On this occasion nothing was said or done that need burden the conscience of any one.{RH January 29, 1884, Art. B, par. 1}
b. Some have said to me, “Sr. White, what do you think of this? Is it in accordance with our faith?” I answer them, “It is with my faith.” In Healdsburg, San Francisco, and Oakland, there are many things to attract our children; large sums are expended every year on Christmas and New Year’s in purchasing gifts for friends. These gifts are not generally satisfactory; for many receive presents that they do not need, when they would be glad to have some other article; some receive the same article from several different persons; and others receive nothing at all. 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. Instead of following a selfish custom, and giving to those from whom presents will be expected in return, let us make our offerings to the Lord. This plan has proved successful in many of our churches, and it was a success on this occasion, the donations amounting to $138.00. Thus the new year was opened with offerings to the Giver of all our mercies and blessings.{RH January 29, 1884, Art. B, par. 2}
c.  I have thought that while we restrain our children from worldly pleasures, that have a tendency to corrupt and mislead, we ought to provide them innocent recreation, to lead them in pleasant paths where there is no danger. No child of God need have a sad or mournful experience. Divine commands, divine promises, show that this is so. Wisdom’s ways “are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.” Worldly pleasures are infatuating; and for their momentary enjoyment, many sacrifice the friendship of Heaven, with the peace, love, and joy that it affords. But these chosen objects of delight soon become disgusting, unsatisfying.{RH January 29, 1884, Art. B, par. 3}
d. We want to do all in our power to win souls by presenting the attractions of the Christian life. Our God is a lover of the beautiful. He might have clothed the earth with brown and gray, and the trees with vestments of mourning instead of their foliage of living green; but he would have his children happy. Every leaf, every opening bud and blooming flower, is a token of his tender love; and we should aim to represent to others this wonderful love expressed in his created works. God would have every household and every church exert a winning power to draw the children away from the seducing pleasures of the world, and from association with those whose influence would have a corrupting tendency. Study to win the youth to Jesus. Impress their minds with the mercy and goodness of God in permitting them, sinful though they are, to enjoy the advantages, the glory and honor, of being sons and daughters of the Most High. What a stupendous thought, what unheard of condescension, what amazing love, that finite man may be allied to the Omnipotent! “To them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” “Beloved, now are we the sons of God.” Can any worldly honor equal this?{RH January 29, 1884, Art. B, par. 4}
e. Let us represent the Christian life as it really is; let us make the way cheerful, inviting, interesting. We can do this if we will. We may fill our own minds with vivid pictures of spiritual and eternal things, and in so doing help to make them a reality to other minds. Faith sees Jesus standing as our mediator at the right hand of God. Faith beholds the mansions he has gone to prepare for those who love him. Faith sees the robe and crown all prepared for the overcomer. Faith hears the songs of the redeemed, and brings eternal glories near. We must come close to Jesus in loving obedience, if we would see the King in his beauty.{RH January 29, 1884, Art. B, par. 5}
10.                 RH  Nov 18  1884 - The Coming Thanksgiving
a.    42 Col Inches
11.                 RH 12/16/1884 - The New Year
a.    61 Col Inches
12.                 RH  12/23/1884 - Thanksgiving Sermon of EGW
a.    Transcript of 11/27/1884
13.                 RH  Dec 9, 1884 - Christmas is Coming
a.    49+ Col Inches
14.                 RH 12/14/1886 - The Old Year and the New
a.    Give...and Work!
15.                 RH Extra 12/11/1888 - The Inestimable Gift
a.    Christmas is coming
b.   Think of the plan of salvation...Jesus!
c.    Self denial to tell the story.
d.   Teach Children to also deny self...bring offering.
16.                 RH Dec 17, 1889 - Christmas Address to the Young
a.    26 Col Inches
b.   "It is not my purpose to affirm or question the propriety of celebration this event this day, but to dwell upon the childhood and life of our Savior.  It is my purpose to call 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."
c.    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.
d.    
Sermon Title Source:  
"The Great Event, The Sacred Event"

17.                 RH  Dec 24, 1889  "The Work of Preparing for the New Year"
a.    Turn to Jesus
b.   Cleanse the Soul Temple before the year closes.
18.                 Manuscript 24, Diary Entry 12/25/1889 - (This Day With God - Dec 25 Entry) Christmas Eve at Battle Creek:  
a.    A great program...modestly, solemnly, filled with gratitude
b.   I spoke at 10:30 p.m....for 50 minutes:  11:20 p.m.
c.    Then Testimonies  (Midnight!)
d.   Then dinner:   Nieces Son: Fred Walling + Wife
e.    + Mother-in-Law
f.     + children (3 months and 6 years)
g.    They are strangers and poor...needed this little encouragement.
19.                 RH  12/9/1890  "Christmas Gifts"
a.    16 Col Inches
b.   Not in EGW Estate Summary Publication
c.   Even Christmas, the day observed professedly in honor of the birthday of Christ, has been made a most effective means of turning the mind away from Christ, away from his glory. If Christmas is kept at all, it should be kept in a way that will be in harmony with its significance. Christ should be remembered, his name honored; the old, old story of his love should be recounted. Instead of saying by our actions that we are putting Christ out of our minds and hearts, we should testify to men, to angels, and to God, that we remember our Redeemer, by following his example of self-sacrifice for others’ good. But the day chosen to honor Christ is devoted by the many to honoring and pleasing themselves. Appointed to keep the Saviour in remembrance, it is spent in causing him to be forgotten.   E.G. White    {RH December 9, 1890, Art. A, par. 3}
20.                 RH  12/23/1890  "An Appeal to the Churches"
a.    1890 is nearly closed.
b.   Take soul inventory.
c.    Jesus left his home in glory...not to please himself.
d.   So...please others.
e.    Stewardship!  Tithe and Offerings.
21.                 RH 12/15/1891  "The World by Wisdom Knew Not God."
a.    Par 6
b.   Par 7 - The love of our heavenly Father in the gift of his only begotten Son to the world, is enough to inspire every soul, to melt every hard, loveless heart into contrition and tenderness, and yet shall heavenly intelligences see in those for whom Christ died, insensibility to his love, hardness of heart, and no response of gratitude and affection to the Giver of all good things?
c.    Par 8 - Jesus looked upon the world in its fallen state with infinite pity. He took humanity upon himself that he might touch and elevate humanity. He came to seek and to save that which was lost. He reached to the very depth of human misery and woe, to take man as he found him, a being tainted with corruption, degraded with vice, depraved by sin, and united with Satan in apostasy, and elevate him to a seat upon his throne.
22.                 RH 12/20/1892 - Christ Our Hope
a.    Par 4- But there is hope for every one; for “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If the love of God is not appreciated, and does not become an abiding principle in the hard heart to soften and subdue the soul, we are utterly lost. The Lord has no reserve power with which to influence man. He can give no greater manifestation of his love than that which he has given. Heaven’s richest gift has been freely offered for your acceptance. If the exhibition of the love of Jesus does not melt and subdue your heart, by what means can you be reached? Has the love of Christ failed to bring forth an earnest response of love and gratitude? Then let it not remain in this condition of hardness another day. Open your heart, and receive Christ, the best gift of heaven. Let not cruel unbelief lead you to refuse the heaven-sent gift. Let not Christ say of you, “Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life.”
b.   5,6,7  More
23.                 RH  12/19/1893 - Represent Christ in Self Denial
a.    Par 4 - anti-debt for gift giving!
b.   Par 5 - don't spend money on holiday amusements
24.                 RH  1/2/1894 - Look not everyman to his own things.
a.    Others!
25.                 RH  12/18, 12/25, 1/1 - Our Duty to the Poor and Afflicted
26.                 RH  11/26/1895  Appeal for the Southern Field  (5 Articles)
a.    Continued  12/3, 12/10, 12/17, 12/24
b.   Christ left his high command.
c.    He became poor.
d.   Clothed divinity in humanity
e.    So...we must help the blacks in the South!
27.                 RH  11/10/1896  "A Test of Gratitude and Loyalty"
a.    Par 1 - Tree of Knowledge a test of gratitude and loyalty.
b.   Par 2 - A Thanksgiving Type List
c.    Par 3 - He who left the royal courts...came here.
d.   End:  Year is closing fast...so we should....
28.                 RH  11/24/1896 "The Right Use of God's Gift"
a.    12/1   Part 2
b.   "We should connect our outward worldly blessings with the great sacrifice, the wonderful atonement made in our behalf."
29.                 RH  12/8/1896  "God's Claim on Us"
a.    Par 7 - "Clad in the vestments of humanity."
30.                 RH 12/25/1900   "How much owest Thou "
a.    Par 1 - Tis the Holiday Season....
31.                 RH 12/3/1901 - Robbing God
32.                 RH 12/10/1901 - Robbing God (2)
33.                 RH 12/17/1901  "Bring an offering unto the Lord."
34.                 RH 12/23/1902 "Think on These Things."
a.    Another year has almost passed into eternity...
35.                 ST 1/4/1889  "The Worth of Salvation"
a.    When the fullness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman"
b.   The plan of redemption is comprehensive, but its parts are few, each depending on the other, and all working together in utmost simplicity and entire harmony.  Paragraph 9
c.    The Plan of Redemption
d.   The Plan in Eternal Possibility
e.    The Fall of Lucifer
f.     The Creation
g.    The Fall of Man
h.   The Promise (Gen 3:15)
i.      The Prophecies
j.      The Arrival of the Christ
k.    The Ministry of the Christ
l.      The Death and Resurrection of the Christ
m. The Gift of the Holy Spirit
n.   The Age of the Church: Apostasy and Reformation
o.   The Second Coming
p.   The Millennium
q.   The End of Sin
r.    The Recreation
36.                 RH 11/15/1906  "Christian Liberality"
a.    "Harvest belongs to God."
37.                 RH 12/27/1906  "Shall We Celebrate the Holidays?"
a.    17 Col Inches
b.   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.  {RH December 27, 1906, par. 9}

Summary
Thanksgiving
2.   Campaign began the year of EGW Birth: (1826)
a.      Sara Hale:  a 30 year campaign...published recipes.
3.   Instituted in 1863....Abe Lincoln
4.   Now:  Football, Parades, Shopping Preparations
5.   EGW suggests -
6.   Thank God...rather than Gluttony
7.   A Gift to God's Work
8.   Volunteering for Poor
Christmas
9.   Today:   Commercial Debt Ridden Self Indulgence
10.                 EGW Suggests
a.    Ponder Jesus' Humiliation
b.   The Sacrifice...starting with leaving the courts of heaven.
New Years
11.                 Today:   Drunk Parties.
12.                 EGW Suggests:
a.    Start Fresh With God,
b.   Start Fresh with Each Other (Confession)
c.    Soul Inventory
d.   Resolution:   Start Tithing.

All of it: Stewardship of God's Gifts.

Summary Document:
MR 21,  MR 1546, Manuscript 8 from 1880 -  page 222-226
1.   Thanksgiving -
a.    call the poor to your table:  Luke 14:13, 14
b.   give a gift to God...response for all the blessings.
c.    instead of gorging yourselves. (food coma).
2.   Christmas
a.    worship the day?   NO.
b.   call on the needy poor...supply any of their (needs).
c.    Bring a gift to God's house.
d.   Joseph and Mary...and the doves.  Luke 2
3.   Birthdays
a.    offering to God.
b.   teach children to lay up something  (1 Cor 16:2)   Save for your birthday offering!
4.   New Year
a.    resolve to be more faithful...and more involved in winning souls.













Poetry Appendix
RH Poetry at Holiday Time
1.   RH 1/1/1884 - Poem "Psalm for the New Year"
2.   RH  1/5/1886 - New Year Poem
3.   RH 1/12/1886 - Old Year Poem
4.   RH 1/26/1886 - New Year Poem
5.   RH  1/3/1893  Poem:   A New Leaf  (New Years)
6.   RH 1/1/1895  Eighteen Ninety-Five (New Year Poem)
7.   RH 12/28/1897  Poem   "The Dying Year"  (New Years)
8.   RH 1/12/1905   Poem  "A New Year Hymn"  (New Years)
9.   RH  1/4/1913  Poem  "Israel's New Year"

Appendix
Voices Against Christmas

RH  12/9/1909 - S. Mortensen (Fragment)   
         Christmas: It's Origin and Character
         (*Partial Article)
         4th Century Start
         Egypt Isis's (Queen of Heaven)  Son born at Winter Solstice.

RH 12/17/1914 - I.A. Crane     Christmas and it's Evils
     Puritan Values
(Partial Article...just a few paragraphs.)God didn't give us the day of birth....not required.
Intentionally left out....so we'd avoid it.

These are "Narrow-minded" people suggesting we overlook the event.
EGW Words.




Our Challenge:

Can't Ignore Christmas.
Jesus' Birth Started...something Amazing!.... Jesus!
It's O.K. to think of Jesus' birth in December.
Rather that "Get"...."Give"
Observe it in the right way.  - Jesus's Story,   Jesus Lifestyle!

Hymn:    Come Thou Long Expected Jesus







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