It passes like a red, green, and gold blur of lights, wrapping paper, and familiar carols. Bombarded by gift requests, holiday programming, church pageants, and relatives, it seems that the most blessed of seasons may hit as hard and fast as a Texas tornado.
Christmas has commenced, yet instead of joy, peace, and glory to God, it produces physical, emotional, and financial overload. With all the activity and sensory stimulation, it is no surprise that children often become "thrill junkies." What a strange response to Christ's humble birth.
Yet something children desperately need is to learn to be quiet and observant instead of continually seeking the blast of overwhelming images.
They need to learn that tranquility is to be cherished as a time to seek God. It is amazing how much we can miss when we don't take the time to be still and see how God is moving.
Who would have expected that an ordinary young shepherd boy could defeat a mighty warrior like Goliath? And who would have guessed he would make a great king? Yet David was able to accomplish great things through God's provision. (1 Samuel 17)
It was not through the spectacular and pretentious great wind, earthquake, or fire that God spoke to Elijah. When God spoke to Elijah, He did so in a gentle whisper. (1 Kings 19)
When Christ chose the disciples who would take His message to the world, He did not choose those who graduated first in their class at the rabbinical school. Instead, He chose ordinary, uneducated fishermen who were willing to follow Him and become fishers of men. (Acts 4:13)
And no one in Israel would have anticipated that the birth of the Christ child would take place in a barn, or that God's salvation would be accomplished on a cross. These were completely unexpected places to find God's phenomenal glory displayed. Truly, God works through the common to exhibit His great power.
Pastor and author Chuck Swindoll wrote, "If parents were to ask me, 'What is the greatest gift we could give our young child?' I would answer rather quickly: a sensitive spirit." When parents exhibit a serene, probing spirit, they help their children understand the value of being silent and observing the world around them.
Stopping in the midst of a hectic schedule and looking for ways God is working in your life is a valuable practice you can impart to your children.
It is in the simple things that God chooses to display His glory, and by showing your children to look for God in the everyday occurrences of life, you teach them that nothing in their lives is beyond God's care.
How long has it been since you took your children by the hand, and led them outside to ponder the beauty of God's creation? When was the last time you sat by their bedside and explained how deep and wide the scope of God's love is for them? Can you recall the last time you and your children counted the blessings God has given you or prayed together for someone who had hurt them? It would be a tragedy if your children lost the capacity to appreciate His presence.
Teaching your children to enjoy moments of silence and meditation upon God's character and Word will establish several constructive habits.
In doing so you encourage them to listen for God and lay the foundation for a growing relationship with Christ. You show them to view life through the eyes of faith instead of sensationalism or self-reliance. You teach them to seek God's truth instead of earthly counterfeits. You instruct them to see potential in themselves, their surroundings, and other people. You train them to be honest about their hopes and fears. And you demonstrate how to meet life's battles.
When you teach your children to be quiet in amazement and amazed in the quietness, you show them that you love them to the depth of their spirits.
Don't miss the opportunity of teaching your kids to look into the ordinary and find the unexpected glory of God. Show them how to look for the wondrous workings of God, and they will live in the strength of His awesome power and love.
The unimpressive shepherd boy became Israel's great king. Burly, unschooled fishermen became the great disciples of the faith. Elijah heard God in a whisper. And the Messiah was born in a manger. Ordinary things are used to display God's power and He is still at work all around you, in the humble matters of life. Who knows what amazing things He can do through your children. Teach them to look for Him, and to anticipate His glory in the most unexpected places. It will be the best Christmas present you can give them.
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