I wanted to share this wonderful article from EG White, Signs of the Times, January 5, 1882... so inspiring and encouraging. May 2024 truly be a happy new year for you all!
Another year of life is now in the past. A new year is opening before us. What will be its record? What will we each inscribe upon its spotless pages? The manner in which we spend each passing day will decide this question. Fathers and mothers, while you wish your children a Happy New Year, will you strive in the fear of God to make it a happy year? Will you seek to lead your dear ones to the true source of peace and joy? Will you consecrate your own hearts to God, that you may exert a sanctifying influence upon your children? Will you separate them from sin and sinners, and by living faith connect them with God?
It should be the work of every parent to cultivate all that is good, and true, and noble, in his children. It is his duty to correct their faults, to restrain their waywardness, even as the Lord required Eli to restrain his sons. Fathers and mothers, make the word of God your guide in the education of your children, ever considering what will be for their future good, rather than what is for your present convenience. The mother may bestow upon her daughters an education that will be invaluable, by training them to bear their share of the family burdens. The father may give his sons a capital of more worth than gold or lands, by teaching them to love useful employment, instead of seeking happiness in idle amusements or dissipation. Parents, now is the time to form in your children habits of industry, self-reliance, and self-control; to cultivate economy and business tact. Now is the time to teach them courtesy and benevolence toward their fellow-men, and reverence and love for God.
You may make a happy new year for your children, if you faithfully discharge your duty. Home should be the most sunny and attractive spot on earth; and it may be made such by pleasant words and kind acts, and, underlying all, a steadfast adherence to the right.
By their neglect to exercise proper restraint, many parents are creating great unhappiness for their children. The youth who are left to constantly seek for pleasure in amusement or selfish gratification are not happy, and never can be happy while following this course. Fathers and mothers, teach your children that the only way to be truly happy is to love and fear God; and enforce the lesson by your example. Let them see that the peace of Christ is ruling in your heart, and that his love pervades your life. Practical religion is the need of the present hour. You cannot teach this to your children unless you possess it yourselves.
Let us enter upon the new year with our hearts cleansed from the defilement of selfishness and pride. Let us put away every sinful indulgence, and seek to become faithful, diligent learners in the school of Christ. A new year opens its unsullied pages before us. What shall we write upon them?
Children, you greet your father and mother with a “Happy New Year,” but will you make it a happy year to them? It is in your power to do this. Your conduct, more than everything besides, will make a happy or an unhappy year for your parents. You may cause their hearts to throb with joy or pain. Whatever dishonors your Saviour, whatever causes a stain upon your character, brings anxiety and distress to the heart of godly parents. You cannot give them a happy new year if you live only for self-gratification.
Seek to begin this year with right purposes and pure motives, as beings who are accountable to God. Ever bear in mind that your acts are daily passing into history by the pen of the recording angel. You must meet them again when the Judgment shall sit and the books shall be opened.
How often your lips utter the kindly greeting, “I wish you a happy new year,” and then in a few moments speak impatient, fretful words. How many children are ever ready to dispute about trifles, unwilling to make the smallest sacrifice for others. To such the new year will bring no real happiness. They may indulge in boisterous mirth, but their hearts know no peace nor joy. Will you not come with penitence and humility to Jesus, that he may cleanse you from the impurity of sin, and fit you for his heavenly kingdom? All who do this will have the happiest new year that they ever experienced. It will bring joy in Heaven and joy on earth.
Many have been seeking some rare gift to bestow upon their friends. Will you not, children, bring to Jesus the gift which he prizes above all others—the gift of your heart? While others at the holiday season adorn themselves to please the eye of their friends, will you not seek the adorning which Heaven values—the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit? If we bring to God the first gift, the value of every other is enhanced; for love makes it not merely a passing compliment, but a precious offering. From the softened heart in which the peace of Christ abides, will flow forth sincere wishes, kindly words and deeds, and worthy, appropriate offerings.
Many are the gifts and greetings that have been exchanged on New Year’s day, by parents and children, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, friends and acquaintances. When it is over, many feel a sense of relief. They have discharged their duty in bestowing presents, and smiles, and compliments for the occasion, and there the matter is supposed to end. The next day, and the next, and onward to the end of the year, bring fretful, passionate words, faultfinding, recrimination, and careless neglect of the dear ones of the household. Oh, such a new year is one that angels will be grieved and ashamed to register. It is anything but happy. Friends and relatives bestow a gift of sorrow, a burden of unkindness, that crushes out hope, and makes the grave look desirable.
Do we truly wish our loved ones a happy new year? Then let us make it such to them by kindness, by sympathy, by cheerfulness, by unselfish devotion. If we connect with God, the source of peace, and light, and truth, his Spirit will flow through us as a channel, to refresh and bless all around us. This may be the last year of life to us. Shall we not enter upon it with thoughtful consideration? Shall not sincerity, respect, benevolence, mark our deportment toward all?
Let us withhold nothing from Him who gave his precious life for us. Fathers and mothers, bring to him your children, in the freshness and bloom of youth, and devote them to his service. Let us all consecrate to God the property he has intrusted to us. Above all, let us give him ourselves, a free-will offering. Let us do his will, live for his glory, and he will give us a Happy New Year.
EG White, Signs of the Times January 5, 1882