“I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11
Merry Christmas to you! The Christmas season is one of my favorite times of year, but it is a busy season and one in which we have to be especially intentional about keeping Christ our Savior central in our thinking. One way I suggest that you do this is through daily advent readings. I commend to you Paul David Tripp’s, Come Let Us Adore Him: A Daily Advent Devotional. The readings begin December 1 and continue throughout the month. I understand that December is underway, but please don’t hesitate to jump in as you are able. This book, and other advent readings, will daily work to focus your attention on the saving work of our Lord Jesus, instead of the overwhelming push of marketing materialism that sweeps over us this time of year.
I encourage you to use this book in private, or as a form of family devotions. Family devotions are tough when everyone is going in different directions, but strive and plan to get everyone together around the dinner table, or before bed. This book facilitates reading a few pages about the work and ministry of Jesus, reading a related passage of scripture, and praying along these lines. When your children are old enough, have them read the scripture portions aloud, and have them lead in prayer after you have given them direction.
Intentionally focusing on the incarnation of Jesus throughout December will change the atmosphere of your home and spiritually instruct your children, or grandchildren. It is never too early to begin training your children to understand who God is and how He is at work in the world. I enjoy Rudolph and A Christmas Carol as much as anyone, but it is vital that you raise your children with a right understanding that, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation of shadow due to change” James 1:17.
A few (controversial!) points on this: First, it adds to the season for your children to know that Jesus loves them and has supplied all good things to them. It ultimately robs God of glory and thanksgiving due His name when our children believe that an elf, or Santa, or some other myth, is the source of blessing in our lives. The fun of maintaining a myth is fully eclipsed by the precious prayers of thanksgiving to God that children offer in joy over what they may receive. Second, these various Christmas myths often revolve around trying to bribe children into good behavior. This will not produce true heart change in your children, and will not ultimately work. Only when our children believe in Jesus as their Savior will true heart change be produced. No matter how young your children are, they are never too young to hear the good news of Jesus’s grace and love. Third, training your children to believe something is true, only for them to find out later it’s a myth, trains them toward doubt. The glorious truth of Jesus as our provider often takes root in the hearts of children, and unlike myths, Jesus is real! When we read the nativity story alongside Rudolph, as just another holiday story, it sows doubt and confusion in the hearts of our children. We will never have to back off the story of Jesus or say things that are not true as we rejoice over His coming!
Oh come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord,