It’s Love That Makes Us Happy These Holidays


Pr. Richard Mendoza works at the Central Luzon Conference of Seventh-day Adventist. An educator and promoter of health, he complements his advocacies with spiritual and valuesoriented insights.

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We’re now in the midst of the holiday season. The season could breed indulgence, if we celebrate it with the usual dining and wining, but if we spend time in giving and sharing, then it becomes a blessing and source of happiness for us. Of course the gifts, bonuses and merrymaking makes us glad but as the song “ It’s Love That Makes Us Happy” (SDA Hymnal, p.579) says:

It’s love that makes us happy
It’s love that smooths the way
It helps us mind
It makes us kind
To others everyday.

God is love
We’re His little children
God is love
We would be like Him

This world is full of sorrow
Of sickness, death and sin
With loving heart
We’ll do our part
And try some souls to win.

Much has been said about the authenticity of the dates and the reasons for the season, and heated debates among protagonists from opposing sides have caused divisiveness even among devout Christians. This should not be the case if love will reign in each hearts.

But what causes the differences? Foremost is the issue on whether Jesus was really born on December 25, thus if not the Christmas season should not be celebrated. They say it’s of pagan origin and the celebration is not biblical and not pleasing to God. On the other hand those who celebrate follows the tradition and the practices that promotes merriments, sharing and giving.

I for one do not believe on the accuracy of the date, if we base it from the Bible and historical accounts. But, it’s not the date that matters most but the fact that a Savior was born, our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom we must believe to be saved. As one inspired and prolific writer expounds, “The 25th of December is supposed to be the day of the birth of Jesus Christ, and its observance has become customary and popular. But yet there is no certainty that we are keepingthe veritable day of our Savior’s birth.”

History gives us no certain assurance of this. The Bible does not give us the precise time. Had the Lord deemed this knowledge essential to our salvation, He would have spoken through His prophets and apostles that we might know all about the matter. But the silence of the Scriptures on this point indicates that it is hidden from us for the wisest purposes. {EG White AH 477.2}In His wisdom the Lord concealed the place where He buried Moses. God buried him, and God resurrected him and took him to heaven. This secrecy was to prevent idolatry. He against whom they rebelled while he was in active service, whom they provoked almost beyond human endurance, was almost worshiped as God after his separation from them by death.

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For the very same purpose He has concealed the precise day of Christ’s birth, that the day should not receive the honor that should be given to Christ as the Redeemer of the world—one to be received, to be trusted, to be relied on as He who could save to the uttermost all who come unto Him. The soul’s adoration should be given to Jesus as the Son of the infinite God.1 {ibid.477.3}

There are lots of activities during the long Christmas-holiday season, foremost of which is gift-giving. It has become a tradition, to most of us Filipinos during the season, to share gifts with each other. God-parents would prepare gifts for their God-children, parents and grandparents would not miss the opportunity to give gifts to their children and grand-children, spouses give to their mates, employers to their employees, children to their parents, parishioners to their churches, lovers to their love ones and so on.

There are many who want to give gifts and expect to receive gifts. Even more prefer to receive, though “it is better to give”, as the Bible declares, and in giving, it is not the amount that counts but the sacrifice. This is illustrated when, “Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.

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Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others” (Mark 12:41-43). This is important because what counts in the sight of God is not the gift but the motive of the giver. Don’t give to be honored and praised. Don’t give expecting something in return for when you do, you have not sacrificed and you loose nothing.

The Bible says, “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Mark 6:2-4).

We who are more blessed with material things and opportunities should be able to share our blessings. Let us remember the poor and the needy and help them with noble motives. Christians are counseled that, “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 favorby 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 honor, 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.” { E.G. White AH 474.3}

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…. {ibid. 474.4}

Let us not forget that there are families, like those of our OFW’s who will have to endure the reality of physical and geographical separation for this year’s holiday celebration. Let’s reach out to them and remember them in our prayers that they remain strongly bonded to one another by love through the Spirit of God.

Have a most blessed 2017 holiday celebration everyone, and may we enter the New Year 2018 with much continued optimism that our lifetime dedication to God, our fellowmen and to our families will bear much fruit. Enjoy the holidays with love!