As the calendar approaches the final month of the year it is important to ask ourselves the question, “What will the focus of this season be?” It is easy to just let things happen – all the shopping, parties, rushing around, family gatherings… It is easy for these things to take prominence. But we have to ask, “Is that really what we want to happen?” Would it not be better to bring more intentionality into this sacred season?
Most of us would likely agree that we want to keep Christ in our celebrations, but there is so much “cultural inertia” pushing us toward a superficial celebration. Is there anything families can do to celebrate in a more meaningful way? Continue reading Celebrating Advent – the coming of Christ→
Every year we have an opportunity to guide our family’s remembrance and celebration of the events surrounding the death and resurrection of our Lord. These events which changed the world and which continue to change the lives of millions of people deserve our focused attention.
One of the ways we can do this is to use our times of family worship to peer into these happenings surrounding the final week of our Lord. Spending a few minutes each day can contribute to your child’s understanding and appreciation of these events, and can help you as a family celebrate more fully their significance.
But some of you may be asking, “How do I do this?” What might it look like to guide my family through such a worshipful exploration.
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
The above text is the classic biblical passage that lays out for parents their biblical calling. We, as parents, are first to make sure the Word of God is in our hearts. As they say, “it is impossible to impart what you do not possess”. If God’s Word is not central to who you are as a parent, it is not likely you will be able to pass it on to your child(ren). Having said that, the passage then calls us to “diligently” teach our children. That word “diligently” should encourage us not to be haphazard in our approach but rather seek to be intentional.
And how can we be intentional? Often when we think about this we may steer toward something like family devotions thinking that this is the only way to be intentional. But I love the fact that the passage encourages us not to think first about a devotional time period each day, but rather thinking of all of life as a place to be intentionally teaching our children. In fact, my observation over the years is that if we are not capturing the everyday moments for Christ, our devotional times may ring untrue to our children. So I want to encourage all parents to live out your calling in the mundane details of life. (So many of the books I read on Family Devotions never make this important point!) Then, having a time of family worship can be all the more effective.
Though parents are the primary nurturers of their children, I believe God has so designed the church to be a partner in this vital enterprise. God has showered His family with a variety of gifts which are meant to build up all the members of the church, including its children. If parents isolate their children from the church family they may be, in effect, impoverishing their children’s spiritual development. That’s why I seek to promote a partnership between the home and church.
On our Children’s Ministry website we have a page that addresses that very theme: Home and Church. Please take time to read through the brief explanation. Then look at the “Recommended Resources” link found on the Parent Resources page to find some suggestions that will help you forge a plan as to how your family might approach intentionally nurturing the faith of your children. A recent book by Jason Helopoulos, A Neglected Grace, may be of some help as you consider the more formal part of your calling (Family Devotions).
If you have some ideas or resources to share with others regarding this important topic, please use the comments section below to do so.