And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
I'm sure you know these verses. They were used just yesterday in a charge to the parents of a new baby in our church. They are an example of what a brilliant curriculum planner God is. No one learns without "hooks": ways for them to hold onto the facts passed along. What better way to give a person a hook then to teach them through everyday life?
I'm sure you also know how difficult these verses can sometimes be to act upon. A whole van ride goes by without any discussion at all, much less working through life's issues Biblically. Or the kids get up, it's time for breakfast, they're off to school and you realize, "I didn't even hug them, much less pray with them."
And so God has given us these brilliant times in the year when these verses get just a bit easier because we are completely surrounded by pointers to the Word of God.
Christmas is one of those times. We decorate our houses, we buy and wrap presents, we put up a tree. Everyone is talking about the coming, exciting day! Here is a great way to teach our children the Words that the above verse talks about! Let's don't miss it. It's not about checking off devotions on a list. It's not about being holier than the next person on the pew. It's not even about having wonderful family time during the holidays. It's about Jesus! It's about giving our children the gospel in a way that hooks into their brains. And it's about getting closer to our God.
If you're still not sure that you know just how to pull the Word of God into your holiday in a daily, weekly kind of way, there are SO many helps just for you!
1. Unto Us A King is Born--this free downloadable devotional covers the Christmas story during the month of December (or any other month!) with daily Bible readings and points of reflection.
2. Nativity Advent Calendar--One of my friends has this calendar, and it is fun, meaningful and beautiful! Each day, you or your children can open a tiny door to find a magnet to attach to the nativity scene.
3. The Advent Wreath--This is a count down that could be done even the last week before Christmas. Light some candles in a circle and talk about the coming of Jesus--simple and effective! Even adults sometimes need to touch and see something (like a candle) for words to sink in. The link takes you to some suggested Advent readings, but if you don't like those, there are many more from which to choose!
4. This advent devotional shows how to create and work through an advent wreath.
5. As I've mentioned before, the Jesse Tree is a great tool for teaching children (and ourselves) that the entire Bible is about Jesus and that Christmas is a story for the entire year.
(If you're interested, hot glue will hold almost anything to almost any wall, and it peels right off when you are done.Test on a small area first, of course.)
6. What God Wants for Christmas presents and nativity. We will let our youngest open all of these presents over the next week, so that they have a nativity scene on the table that they can play with. The figures change positions at least 10 times a day!
7. If you're into simple plans, this free Advent Christmas Prayer Guide is an exceptional tool! It gives a hymn for each week in Advent and a few verses to read each day to lead up to Christmas. And of course, with a bit of creativity (or just ask your kids to come up with something!) each day's reading could be symbolized with a picture and hung on a tree, just like with the Jesse Tree plan above.
8.Truth in the Tinsel looks like a creative addition to an Advent learning schedule. Each day includes a craft, a scripture, and a little discussion. It would be great for the crafty learners of all ages! (Download it now for $7.99)
9. If you're looking for something just for you or for older children, how about this book of quotes from guys like Augustine, Luther, Edwards, Spurgeon, Piper or John MacArthur? (edited by Nancy Guthrie) Come Thou Long Expected Jesus
And just in case all of that just wasn't enough, here's another list of Advent ideas to check out: Advent at Easy Fun School.