Over the years, we have stumbled upon a great way to decorate our Christmas tree. Almost every ornament on our tree now has a story behind it. I love angels and sheep for reminding us God is always loving and caring for us, so that is our basic theme. Some of our memory ornaments are also sheep and angels, while others have their own special meaning.
Years ago, we began buying a special ornament on the various trips we made around the country and around the world. Most of these trips also involved worshipping with the local congregation. Those experiences often included special memories of their own – from the congregation that sent us on our way with a fresh loaf of homemade bread to the congregation in Montreal that held services in a mixture of French and English.
Some of our memory ornaments are from events we participated in that used the talents and gifts with which God blessed one of us – from dancing to music to even cooking. Others are from special brothers and sisters in Christ who wanted us to remember them and how much they loved us or from fun events we attended with the many wonderful friends God has provided us.
Some of our favorite ornaments are ones like these in the photo from family mission trips or to remind us of those we love and serve in far away places. We even have a couple to spur us on to future mission trips and service works.
The best part of our collection is that we encouraged our daughter to add to it with her own faith ornaments. When she has her our own first tree in a couple of years, it will be filled with ornaments reminding her of God’s love and blessings. She can remember all of the ways God has been there for her and reflect on what adventures He might still have in store for her and her own family.
As you decorate your tree this year, notice if you already have some great memory ornaments on it. Share the stories of the ornaments with your children and how they remind you of God’s blessings and care. Tell them how your faith has grown by watching God work in your life and in theirs over the years. You may be surprised to learn your Christmas tree can provide some great faith lessons for your kids.
The debate over giving kids chores has raged on for decades now. Critics say it creates more work for the parents than it saves and distracts children from studying. Proponents often site the benefits of teaching children valuable household skills or the benefit of having a few extra hands doing the work needed around the house. You probably have seen articles mentioning chores as a way to teach responsibility and a work ethic. Did you know giving your kids regular chores can teach them some godly principles, too?
- Perseverance (2 Peter 1:5-15) – Anyone who has ever painted a room needing several coats understands the concept of perseverance. Big chores like painting require sticking with something until it is completed. Painting, much like the Christian life, can have fun moments, but in the end it takes inner strength to gut it out until the job is completed.
Continue reading Hidden Advantages of Chores for Kids
Sometimes Christianity can be confusing. There are so many churches, looking at the Bible in so many ways. Frankly, some seem so far removed from what God teaches, it is hard to imagine they consider themselves Christian. Yet, as Christian parents, we not only have to figure out how to teach everything in the Bible to our children, but help them learn how to actually live what they read.
Recently, I was given the chance to review the new book Be the Message: Taking Your Faith Beyond Words to a Life of Action by Kerry and Chris Shook. Throughout, the authors attempt to help readers understand what living God’s Words – being the message in their terms, looks like on a day to day basis.
Continue reading Being the Message for Your Kids
I will never forget the first time I learned something in Church before I learned it in school. It was such a fun feeling to already know the history and geography the teacher was explaining because I had learned it from the Bible years earlier. Many other Christians have shared a similar reaction in their school experiences. On some level, it adds a sense of awe and “coolness” to the Bible. (Not that it isn’t cool enough on its own – but that’s another topic for another day!)
Many times when teaching kids and teens the Bible, we focus only on the story. We get so caught up in helping the kids remember who did what to whom, we forget all of that information fits into the context of the world at large. Biblical history is not some special little isolated collection of mysterious almost invisible events. Rather it was as much a part of world history and geography as anything your child will learn in school.
Continue reading Connecting Your Child’s Schoolwork to the Bible
Have your ever surprised a young child with something they have wanted their “whole life”? If you have, you have probably witnessed pure, unsurpassed joy. In fact for many children, childhood is a time filled with joy. As time passes however, the joy seems to slowly seep out of life for many people and is replaced by what the French call ennui – fancy boredom.
The Christian life for many has a similar trajectory. The moments after a person puts on Christ in baptism and becomes a Christian are often very joyful. Soon the monotony of life intrudes though and Christianity can begin looking boring or worse yet, restrictive.
I want to encourage you to not only live a joyful Christian life, but help your children find and understand the joy in living a godly, active Christian life. There are a lot of things Christians can be joyful about, but in case you were puzzling what to share with your kids about joy and God, here are some of my favorites:
Continue reading Kids, Joy and God