Christmas is just around the corner and for many the pressure is on to find just the right gift for each child. In a world that has become so driven by and focused on achieving goals, it is clear that many parents have taken their eyes off the best gift to give to those you helped bring into this world.
Take a moment to reflect on your goals for your kids. For many it is providing a good education, setting them up for a good job, finding a life partner or a healthy lifestyle. As important as these may be, there is one goal that sits atop the list.
The biblical teaching clearly sets the home/family as the primary center for faith formation and nurture. As Christian parents our highest ideal is that our children will find the faith that we have and become lifelong, active followers of Jesus. To provide extra support, God has provided the gathered church, grandparents, extended family members, friends and mentors.
So what strategies and priorities are you setting in the everyday dance steps of life to work towards achieving that goal? Proverbs 22:6 “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it,” is a proverb (not a promise) that will most often be realised if we work hard at it.
Reflect on your week and consider how much time is being invested into this one goal. The only screens at the meal table should be the reflections in the eyes of each of the family members present as we listen to, and reflect biblically, on the events of our day. What family traditions are we implementing? What are we sacrificing as parents to create the time and energy into this one goal for our children? This is not about quoting Scriptures at our children all day – it is about seeing faith as a natural and intentional ingredient in our daily life. It is vital that we explore the big and the small questions of life around table conversations, windscreen conversations, bedtime conversations…. all of which flow from the words of Deuteronomy 6.
Can you add these ‘gifts’ for your family to your list?
- Get back to the meal table (a ‘screen-free zone’) with your family on a regular basis. Listen, laugh, struggle and journey together.
- Celebrate together the ‘seasons/events’ in your family year – birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, Easter, holidays, first/last days at school, etc.
- Create your Family Traditions: choose your own meal on your birthday; write affirming words in all birthday cards to each other; family ‘treat’ after church; reading the Christmas story around a candle; etc.
- Write down a short list of goals for your children and develop some priorities that will work towards achieving them.
- Have fun together. Start and maintain an ever-growing list of activities you can all enjoy together – and make the time to tick them off.
So finish this sentence: One gift I will bring to my family this Christmas Season is … ?
Merry Christmas, everyone! Wishing every blessing upon you and your family in this special time.
Family & Children’s Ministry Specialist
Scripture Union Queensland & International