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God’s Special Gift

by chantal klingbeil

What is the very best gift you can imagine getting this Christmas? You may have a long list of things that you would like to have, but actually you already have a very wonderful gift—your body! If you remember when you’ve been sick or hurting, you know how important it is to take care of this special gift.

In 1863, when the Seventh-day Adventist Church was officially organized, health care was not very healthful! People weren’t sure about how to improve their health. Women were expected to wear tight-fitting clothes that made it hard to breathe. People thought that if they got cold while taking a bath they could get sick, so they didn’t bathe or shower very often. They might go weeks or even months without taking a bath. They also didn’t know about a healthful diet, and used lots of fat in their food. Some fruits were thought to be poisonous, so many parents gave their children very little fresh fruit. There were some strange ideas about air, too. People believed that night air was poisonous, so they tried to close everything up tight at night to keep the night air out. Even doctors had strange ideas about treating the sick. They prescribed smoking cigars to clean up the lungs or bleed people who had fevers!

The same year the church was organized, Ellen White was given a vision that showed how we could be healthier by not using drugs, alcohol, tobacco, tea, coffee, or meat. She was also shown how important it is to have fresh air, eat a healthful diet, use water (to drink and wash with), get lots of exercise, sunshine, practice self-control, get enough sleep, and trust in God.

On Christmas Day 1865, God gave Ellen White another vision to help people remember to put all this good advice into practice so they could be healthy and help others become that way too.

As you look forward to Christmas this year, remember that you already have a gift that you don’t even have to unwrap. So do all you can to keep it healthy!