The Observance of Christmas

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A compilation from Ellen G. White by Elder Anthony Burrows.

What Is Christmas?
CHRISTMAS is coming,” is the note that is sounded throughout our world from East to West and from North to South. With youth, those of mature age, and even the aged, it is a period of general rejoicing, of great gladness. But what is Christmas, that it should demand so much attention? This day has been made much of for centuries. It is accepted by the unbelieving world, and by the Christian world generally, as the day on which Christ was born. When the world at large celebrates the day, they show no honor to Christ. They refuse to acknowledge him as their Saviour, to honor him by willing obedience to his service. They show preference to the day, but none to the one for whom the day is celebrated, Jesus Christ.

The twenty-fifth 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 keeping the veritable day of our Saviour’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. . . .
Parents should keep these things before their children, and instruct them, line upon line, precept upon precept, in their obligation to God,—not their obligation to each other, to honor and glorify one another by gifts and offerings. But they should be taught that Jesus is the world’s Redeemer, the object of thought, of painstaking effort; that his work is the grand theme which should engage their attention; that they should bring to him their gifts and offerings. Thus, did the wise men and the shepherds.

A Day of Gladness and Rejoicing
As the twenty-fifth day of December is observed to commemorate the birth of Christ, as the children have been instructed by precept and example that this was indeed a day of gladness and rejoicing, you will find it a difficult matter to pass over this period without giving it some attention. It can be made to serve a very good purpose.

The youth should be treated very carefully. They should not be left on Christmas to find their own amusement in vanity and pleasure-seeking, in amusements which will be detrimental to their spirituality. 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.  Their desire to make gifts may be turned into pure and holy channels, and made to result in good to our fellow-men by supplying the treasury in the great, grand work for which Christ came into our world. Self-denial and self-sacrifice marked his course of action.

Youth cannot be made as sedate and grave as old age, the child as sober as the sire. While sinful amusements are condemned, as they should be, let parents, teachers, and guardians of youth provide in their stead innocent pleasures, which shall not taint or corrupt the morals. Do not bind down the young to rigid rules and restraints that will lead them to feel themselves oppressed and to break over and rush into paths of folly and destruction. With a firm, kindly, considerate hand, hold the lines of government, guiding and controlling their minds and purposes, yet so gently, so wisely, so lovingly, that they still will know that you have their best good in view. . . .

The Emblem of the Evergreen
On Christmas, so soon to come, let not the parents take the position that an evergreen placed in the church for the amusement of the Sabbath-school scholars is a sin; for it may be made a great blessing. Keep before their minds benevolent objects. In no case should mere amusement be the object of these gatherings. While there may be some who will turn these occasions into seasons of careless levity, and whose minds will not receive the divine impress, to other minds and characters these seasons will be highly beneficial.

Christmas is coming. May you all have wisdom to make it a precious season. Let the older church members unite, heart and soul, with their children in this innocent amusement and recreation, in devising ways and means to show true respect to Jesus by bringing to him gifts and offerings. Let everyone remember the claims of God. His cause cannot go forward without your aid. Let the gifts you have usually bestowed upon one another be placed in the Lord’s treasury. . .
Let there be recorded in the heavenly books such a Christmas as has never yet been seen, because of the donations which shall be given for the sustaining of the work of God and the upbuilding of his kingdom.—Review and HeraId, Dec. 9, 1884.

Making Melody and Praising God
It is through Christ that we receive every blessing. . . . Shall not our heavenly Benefactor share in the tokens of our gratitude and love? 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, and let his praise be upon your lips. . . . 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 Year’s 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. -Ibid., Dec. 26, 1882.
--Elder Anthony Burrows, Education and Stewardship Director, South Bahamas Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

1: Public Christian Witness
7: 2019 Curacao, IAD Bible Connection Finals
7: Stewardship Emphasis Day
7: Mission Transform 242: Local Church AY Distributes used shoes, clothing, bags, books
devotional in good condition to charities
8: Pathfinder Band Concert
8 - 9: Cayman Island Conference Session
7 - 12: Personal Evangelism and Leadership Council – PELC (Seminar at Oakwood University)
13 -15: Winter Youth Retreats Youth Day and Youth Banquets (Local Churches) PM - Adventurer and Pathfinder Congress
14: Health Emphasis Day
15: Local Church/AY Banquets
19: Conference Office Closes for Holidays

Dr. Paul A. Scavella, Pastor of the Centreville, and New Haven Seventh-day Adventist Churches received the Queen’s Award, CMG, on Monday December 9, 2019, for service to religion and the community. Congratulations are extended to Pastor Scavella and family from the Administrators of the South Bahamas  Conference and  his pastoral colleagues on this achievement.

Under the theme, “Christ, Our Soon Coming King”, the Administration, Executive Committee, Directors, and Pastors of the South Bahamas Conference of Seventh-day Adventists invites you to join us in Convention 2020. January 10-12, 2020 will be an unforgettable worship experience where Jesus Christ will be lifted up. Our guest speaker for these meetings will be Pastor Debleaire Snell of First Seventh-day Adventist Church, Huntsville, Alabama. Plan now to be there!

Please note that Annual Meeting will be held on January 12, 2019.  Please watch here for further details.  Venue: To be decided.

January 17 – 19
Long Island: Pastor Kenny Deveaux
Inagua: Pastor Peter Joseph
Eleuthera: Pastor Leonardo Rahming
Exuma: Bro. Okell Damastus / Sis. Nathelyn Lacroix
Cat Island: Pastor Nikita Thompson
San Salvador: Sis. Kimberly Bryan / Elder Curtis Bryan
Mayaguana: Pastor Valentino Campbell
Crooked Island/Acklins: Pastor Jamal Franklyn / Bro. Michael Toote Jr. (February 5– 8, 2020)
South Andros: Pastor T. Basil Sturrup / Sis. Lavern Sturrup / Sis. Cindy Stuart
North Andros: Elder Anthony Burrows / Sis. Jacquelyn Gibson

All Elders in the South Bahamas Conference are asked to attend a very important meeting on Monday December 16, 2019, 7:00 p.m at the Grant’s Town Church, Wellington Street for a very important meeting. Information on the Every Elder Involved Certification 2020 as well as other significance matters will be discussed.
-- T. Basil Sturrup, Ministerial Secretary

The prayer focus of The Atlantic Caribbean Union (ATCU) for the week, December 15– 21, 2019: Our Neighbors & Friends.

The ABNC is having a Storewide Christmas Sale on Wednesday, December 18, 2019 from 9:00a.m. to 6:00p.m. Please note, we will be closed from Sunday, December 22, 2019 – Thursday, January 2, 2020. As the year is coming to a close all treasurers are asked to bring church accounts up-to-date  in preparation for the year 2020.

This exciting experience for our children will be held on Saturday January 11, 2020. Plan now for your children to attend as we meet under the theme ‘God’s Amazing Grace’. Venue: To be decided.
--Mrs. Lavern Sturrup, Children & Adolescent Ministries Director

There will be training on the Digital Mixer Board for local church media teams and persons interested in serving in this area on January 26 & February 2, 2020 with Mr. Dwayne Roberts, Professional Audio Engineer. All local Communication leaders are asked to submit the names of team members that will be attending by January 9, 2020. 
–Mrs. Lavern Sturrup, Communication Director

January 10, 2020  @6:00a.m. - Majority Rule Day Holiday – ‘Let’s Move to Live!’ For information on registration and t-shirt options call 323-0610 / 341-4021.

8 Weeks to Wellness 2020
8 Weeks to Wellness 2020 under the theme 'I Choose to Live Healthy' is scheduled to begin on February 3, 2020 to March 30, 2020 at the New Providence Seventh-day Adventist Church. Come and learn how to manage and prevent illness physically, mentally and spiritually. God can do more with healthy people.

Psychological First Aid Certification
The Pan American Health Organization is offering a free virtual course in Psychological First Aid (PFA) in disaster management in the Caribbean. The Psychological First Aid (PFA) course is a ten-hour self-paced training. It aims to equip lay persons with the tools to appropriately provide the initial response to individuals experiencing psychological distress secondary to crisis situations.
Click on this link to register:  For further information, Whatsapp  Nathelyn LaCroix at 826-8486 or email 

--Mrs. Nathelyn Lacroix, Health Ministries Director

Fourth Quarter (October - December)
“WE” (Women Empowerment) – Q4 Forecast:
December 2019
15 – New Providence Women’s Ministries & GEMS End of Year Soiree
15 – GEMS Year-end Visit to The Children’s Emergency Hostel
18 – Year-end Visit to Willamae Pratt Home for Girls

Important Request
All new and returning Women’s Ministries Leaders for 2020 are asked to submit their name and contact information to Mrs. Tanya Miller at the South Bahamas Conference Office on or before Wednesday, December 18, 2019.

Thank You For Your Service! 
On behalf of the Women’s Ministries Department of the South Bahamas Conference, I would like to thank our Local Leaders, in New Providence and on the Family of Islands, my Council Members, our GEMS and their Mentors, for their willingness to be used by God as a conduit of His love, peace and grace during 2019. I am additionally grateful to all women in the South Bahamas Conference, for their unwavering support and encouragement throughout this year. As God’s Beloved Daughters, we anticipate an even more generous outpouring of the Holy Spirit, as we embark on greater exploits for Him in 2020. My hope and prayer for each of you is a joyous, yuletide season and the blessings of the New Year, filled to overflowing with the spirit of God! 

--Mrs. Jacqueline Gibson, Women’s Ministries Director

Donation Request, Used, But In Good Condition Devotionals
Kindly donate to your local Women’s Ministries Leader for distribution during our community outreach projects. 

--Mrs. Jacqueline Gibson, Women’s Ministries Director

Rehearsals for the newly organized SBC Youth Choir, for persons ages 15 – 30 years, continues at the Agape Church, Wulff Road, this Sunday and every Sunday at 6:00 p.m. You are invited to be a part of this dynamic Youth Choir.
--Mrs. Annette Dorsett, Music Ministries Coordinator

December 14 - Philadelphia, Mangrove Cay
Johnson Park & Francophone Pathfinder Clubs

Winter Youth Retreat Dates 
December 14 - New Providence Youth Retreat

Adventist Youth Awards
Date: Sunday, December 15, 2019  
Venue: Breezes Hotel & Resort  
Time: 5:30 p.m    
Tickets: $60.00  
Meals: All you can eat buffet!  
--Pastor Jamal Franklyn, Adventist Youth Ministries Director

All are invited to be a part of Berea Church’s Health weekend under the theme ‘Total Health - Physically, Emotionally and Spiritually’ on December 14 – 15, 2019. Screenings for blood pressure, glucose and muscle and fat analyses will be done at 8.30a.m on Sabbath morning and 7: 30a.m on Sunday morning. Exercise classes will also take place on Sunday morning.  Come out and be blessed.  
–Eugenie Green, Health Leader

Come and join us for our annual musical Christmas celebration at the Centreville Church on Sabbath, December 21, 2019 at 11:00 a.m, under the theme, "God with Us". You will be blessed as all of our choirs render praise to God with uplifted voices in adoration to our Savior King.
–Mrs. Lorraine Duvalier

Ephesus Church invites you to join us for our Annual Music Emphasis Sabbath, which will be held on December 14, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. under the theme: ‘We Worship because....’. Our invited guests include Harmonious Praise, Carrington McKenzie among other artists will minister on this special day as we worship God just because...
–Dr. Flloyd Carter

Rehearsal will be held on Sunday, December 15th, 2019 at 5:30p.m -7:30p.m and on Tuesday, December 17th at 7:00p.m at Grant’s Town. All members are encouraged to attend. Thank you!  
--Mr. Nelson Bain, Conductor

The Philadelphia Seventh-day Adventist Church presents “A Festival of Carols” on Sabbath, December 21st, 2019 11:00a.m at the church. All are invited.
-Sis. Annette Dorsett

Invites you to join us for an exciting, informative program called “Ages & Stages: Puberty to "the Pause".
It’s for the entire family.
-Ages 12 and under.
-Dr. Alpheus Allick - Ages 13 -15
-Dr. Afiya Alexander Ages 16 – 18
-Dr. Ian Çartwright Ages 19 – 25
-Dr. Cheree Longley Ages 25 and older.
Date: December 14, 2019
Time: 4:00p.m
Place: Hillview Church
Come and be informed!
--Sis. Donna Moss

The Living Faith Seventh-day Adventist Church Children's Choir invites you to join with them in grateful hearts at their Christmas Concert, "Rejoice, Give Thanks and Sing" on Sunday, December 15, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. at the Church on Old Trail Road.
Tickets are available from the Choir Leaders, Sis. Kim Knowles and Sis. Laura Glinton at a minimal cost.
--Mrs. Vesta M. Williams, Church Clerk

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