Richard Mouw tells of a man from New Jersey in the South for the first time. He noticed that several menu items included grits, so he asked the waitress, “Miss, what is a grit?” She replied, “Honey, they don’t come by themselves.”
In a sense, Christians are like grits. We don’t come by ourselves, we come in relationships. (more…)
Our society has commercialized and consequently trivialized our holidays. Thanksgiving has become “turkey day” and “Merry Christmas” has become “Happy Holidays.”
How do we overcome this in our own homes?
We begin by asking, “What is the purpose of holidays?” A holi-day is a holy day. Holy means “set apart;” that simply means that it is a “set apart” day, especially set apart for God.
In our country, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter are true “holy days.” Other holidays like the Fourth of July can also fit the description when we observe the history of the founders of our country.
We moan and groan because our society seems to be moving quickly away from the real meaning of these holidays and remaking them in its own image. More disturbing: Christian families are not taking the time to explore these holidays and chart a different course. To chart a different course is not difficult, but it will take a little preparation. (more…)
In the C.S. Lewis story The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Father Christmas shows up and gives some unexpected gifts to the four children. With each gift, he explains its purpose and use so that each hero will be prepared for what is coming. Then he concludes by saying,
In our day, we are guilty of doing the opposite. We give our children gifts with this hidden message, “These are not tools; they are toys. Have fun!” Consequently, we are not preparing them for what is to come. We put today’s happiness above their future survival, their effectiveness, and their purpose.
We are raising kids who do not know who they are, why they are here, or where they belong. When I was growing up, we called people like that “lost” and spent time and energy trying to get them “found.” The church today has its greatest harvest field of “lost” people right in our own homes.
Over the next few weeks, I want to encourage you to see that special events are opportunities to give our children tools that communicate identity, community, and purpose.
In the future, when your son asks you, “What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the LORD our God has commanded you?” tell him: We were slaves in the land of Egypt and the Lord our God brought us out with a mighty hand. (Deut. 6: 20)
Paraphrased: When your children ask you, “Why do we have these special events each year?” tell them what you know about it and include God in your explanation.
Maybe they will ask “Why do we celebrate birthdays? anniversaries? graduations?”Tell them why these things are significant for you.
Your interpretation of how God has worked in your life can be put together with a special event. Special times are important because they carry emotional weight. This emotional weight marks events and conversations with significance and makes them memorable.
Today, let’s just focus on a birthday as a special event, close and personal to a child. (more…)
Danny was about three. Patricia, being the loving mother that she is, spoke her love for him in a tender moment, “Danny, there is nobody like you.”
Patricia was appalled. It took her several minutes to clear up the misunderstanding between what she said and what a three-year-old heard.
This is why communication takes time. It involves more than what is said; it involves what is heard. (more…)