Let me preface what I intend to say here by saying that I do not lead by example here. I fail at this subject often but aim to do better and stand convicted often when I fail. Pray for me.
That being said, I just want to take a moment to point out something. If you listen to people talk about Christmas and their favorite parts of the holiday, one of the most mentioned and most celebrated aspects of Christmas involves setting up and decorating the Christmas tree. Often times people discuss how the whole family comes together to hang ornaments and place the strands of lights.
I can remember as a child what a big deal it was in my family. Beginning around Thanksgiving, I recall being excited to hear mom say that it was probably time to unpack the Christmas tree from the basement and decorate it. It was a time of togetherness and working as a team.
Making sure the ornaments were hung correctly and that the garland was placed just right was a priority. Such care was taken and instruction given to space things out correctly. We would work together and it was fun. Then, when it was all done, dad being the tallest would be asked to place the star on top of the tree. The anticipation grew then as I knew for sure, in just a few moments, someone, usually my sister or myself, would plug the long strand of lights into the electrical outlet and the tree would light up in beautiful color and brightness. It was a magical moment and one that is remembered fondly.
From movies to songs, the Christmas tree and its drawing ability to bring families together is celebrated. That time of decorating the tree is one that causes people to drop what they are doing and work together on something. Many families have a tradition of singing songs or reading a certain story book during this time. It is a time for tradition, bonding, common goals, and presentation. It is, especially in these days, a time to escape the world and quite simply, be a family.
My friend, I want to tell you that there is a way to have this same moment every day. There is a way to share time with your kids that is simple and magical. There is a way to leave the world behind and start a tradition in your family that will never be forgotten. There is a way to give your children and spouse something bright and burning every single day and it won’t run your electric bill up. A time of devotion to Bible study with your family is this glorious and forgotten way.
Thinking about the times when our family has devoted time with one another and God are some of the most precious times I recall as a father and husband. To turn all the distractions and outside influences of the world off and just as a unit that God Himself has constructed be with Him is a moment that I can’t even put into words. It is peaceful, fulfilling, precious, historical, educational, and gratifying all at the same time. It is a wonderful time.
We put our Christmas trees up in order to have something pretty to behold and to place gifts to one another under. In family devotionals, God refines us into something beautiful for Him to behold and helps us to place ourselves and our children under Him and His guidance. What a glorious thing. What gift!
To the dads who may read this: As a child, I can remember thinking what an honor it must have been to be tall and get to be dad and place the star on top of the Christmas tree. It was the finishing touch, the approving moment, the culmination of the work that the family had done. I can remember how excited I was the first time I was allowed to drag a chair into that living room and hang the star myself. That fails in comparison though to the feeling I am given when I properly place the greatest star in his rightful place in my home.
To sit and study the Bible with my children and place Christ where He belongs is something that I know Christian fathers throughout history have done. To be able to, with the help of my wife, show my children how to rightly divide law and gospel, show Christ as the center of all, is such a wonderful gift. To remove that bright and shining star from the word of God and place Him on top of our family is a crowning moment of the day. To decorate and bathe my children in Christ’s glorious triumph over death following his sacrificial death is fulfilling. To be able to show my children the grace of God upon a fallen people and to help my children understand themselves as God sees them is my job, my duty, my privilege. To know that this is a family tradition or practice that my kids may one day share with their own is the greatest gift ever.
There is a tree that your family can gather around daily. It is stained with blood shed by an innocent savior and it has shined brightly for over 2000 years now. Share this with your kids.