1. A Visit with an Elderly Friend
I’ve been that friend, called on to warn or encourage. Just recently when talking to a young friend, I realized that the expression, “I’ve walked that path,” is no longer true.
Perhaps each generation has had to blaze its own path but it is just more noticeable with this generation. Those of you training children now are facing new challenges. Challenges like phone and computer, COVID, the church’s shift with culture. But, I have good news. We the old and the young can still meet because we do have a guarantee to offer. God’s promises are true and ageless, unaffected by happenings such as COVID. Promises such as:
Isaiah 41:10 - “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Deuteronomy 31:8 -“It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
John 16:33 – “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Psalm 32:8 - “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.”
While I have never walked your path, I can assure you that God’s power, authority, love and plan remains steadfast through all the generations.
2. Championship Discipline Tip
Your child has politely ignored your instruction. You have noticed this before and dealt with it with reminders and warnings. This time before charging to make behavior change, pause and focus.
Remember that it is not the behavior that is your main concern but the motivation for that behavior — the heart that could behave that disrespectful way.
So, before stomping on the behavior, (And I know how aggravating continued sinful responses can be when you’re training.) remember the steps you want to take. Perhaps your steps will include:
1) Pausing first to connect with God.
2) Enjoying honest communion with the Father, where you reveal your need and acknowledge your submission.
3) Proceed with correction now with a heart truly seeking to see God glorified.
The need to take these steps may arise multiple times an hour! Stay focused. Surrender to the only One who can guide you for lasting training. He will guide you to individualize your training, rather that responding with textbook rules.
3. Fun Read-Aloud
I really enjoy this season of the year and the opportunities that arise for read-alouds. You may do all of the reading or you may share with your children. Whenever and however you organize your read-aloud time please remember:
- Keep it enjoyable. Stop the reading while everyone is wanting more.
- Vary your reading material. You may use several books in one sitting. Perhaps a more difficult (topic, vocabulary) book can be used for 5 minutes. Then move to sharing a story book.
-Use after read-aloud time to get to know each other’s heart. Accepting rushed or copy-cat answers will hinder seeing what actually gives joy or pain to each.
- Don’t separate God Books from fun books. Show God in the fun. Let Him always have the glory due His name.
Well, I can just picture the fireplace, toasty snacks and a good book drawing your family together.
4. Are there worthless traditions?
Well, I’m sure there may be, but the very value of tradition is that it binds a certain group of people. So, if your family practices a tradition that seems useless and ridiculous to the rest of mankind, take heart. You may be using that tradition to identify fun and good times at your home.
Of course, for all of us who love the Christmas celebration because we love and know that we are loved by Christ, we want traditions that point to that. Some of those that I’ve heard from you are:
- Reading the Gospel of Luke one chapter a day through the month of December until the 24th.
- Using an advent calendar, sharing advent devotions or other advent studies.
- Choosing a week or a month to do something each day for someone in need. Discuss why you do this and what result you see from it.
- Listing words, like incarnation, that are often used at Christmas and doing a topical study.
- Discussing why you decorate with nativities.
Include discussion of idol worship.
- Singing Christmas carols and talking about
what you’re singing.
- Choose a Bible verse and everyone memorize and share it all through the season.
Traditions, holding us together, should represent who we are — believers who are enjoying this life because we are secure in life eternal.
5. A Christmas Thought
Remember in Matthew 1 where an angel appears to Joseph. In a dream, God makes everything clear for Joseph.
- Do not be afraid to take Mary home to be your wife.
- Because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
Then in Matthew 1:21 we read: “She will give birth to a son and you shall call his name Jesus for he will save his people from their sins.” Such clear information about why God did what He did! This must have been a great “deep breath” comfort for Joseph.
And to this day we see the certainty and sure reason for why Jesus was born. How very good of God to make clear to us the meaning of Christ’s birth. This gives us so much reason to sing together and celebrate together.