What gift shall we bring? Christmas is in two days and thoughts of gifts are on our minds. If you're like me you're wondering if everything's wrapped, if you got something for everyone on your list...there's a little anxiety but there's also anticipation! My son is almost two and he's full of energy so I am really looking forward to our morning family time this year, knowing he will probably be very interactive with all our family and love the excitement of opening gifts.
What is your idea of the greatest gift to your child? Move past Christmas and think long term.
The ability to think for themselves?
Support for whatever and whoever they want to be when they grow up?
Health and good living?
Success and a family?
The list goes on. You may have a baby growing in your womb, an energetic toddler, or a son or daughter who is out of the house and married with kids....but all of you have desires for these blessings that may oftentimes feel inexpressible. We hope they won't make the same mistakes we did and we hope they will never abandon what we teach them. We hope they'll always be treated fairly and that they'll always be in good health. But the reality is so much of this is out of our control. Life will always be full of ups and downs because of two things.
The first is that we didn’t believe God’s promises and we put ourselves in the place of God.
The second is that because we chose that path the world is broken and a mess.
In Genesis, we read that God made the world and it was good. Man and God communed. They were together in ultimate paradise. They was no toil in their labor, no pain, no suffering, no disease, no ill-will for mankind. Children weren't in the picture yet, but if they had been, they would be perfectly obedient!
It is not far into the story, though, that Adam and Eve questioned God and chose themselves over Him. The communion was broken and they became separated from God. Why wouldn't they believe Him and trust His word. Sound familiar? I see this in myself, and now I see it in my child:
Noah, let's get buckled up....no.
Noah, please eat...no
Noah, time for bed....no
Noah, stop hitting....no
Noah, do not jump off the couch...no
Noah, don't climb on the rocks without mommy........
Even when I am lovingly teaching my son things that are good for him, he still disobeys me.
Aren't we all stubborn? We want to do things our way, this is the tragic human condition. We just learn to hide it as we get older and be more subtle, but the truth is that we are all slaves to sin (Romans 6).
God wants good for us, we choose our way. He wants to embrace us, we turn and embrace countless other idols.
But God is the perfect parent, isn't He? What a joy to remember and stir our wayward hearts:
The beautiful part is that He knows our flaws but loves us still. Christian scholar, Timothy Keller says it like this,
“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.”
When our children are thrown into life's difficulties, or even just their own struggle with sin, God’s promise to know and love them does not change because He sees Jesus in their place. He sees His perfect Son who came to earth and died for us, that the curse of sin would be broken.
Mamas, the greatest gift you could give your children, and not just this holiday season, but for as long as you parent them, is a hope greater than your parenting and provision, greater than all the things the world says will satisfy them, greater than themselves. Give them the hope of Jesus.
May you rest today in this encouragement of God’s promises through Christ, and boldly point your children to Jesus.
QUESTIONS FOR APPLICATION/ REFLECTION:
1. Do you think of your child's rebellion as primarily rebellion against you or against God? Why is it important to see and emphasize the latter in order for them to see their need for Jesus?
2. How can you intentionally point your children to Jesus in some specific ways over the course of the next few days?
3. Have you ever felt loved but not known, or known but not loved? How does the coming of Christ offer us the opportunity to feel loved and known simultaneously? How can we model that to our kids?
Alex Somerville is a stay-at-home mom in Holly Springs, NC. Going on three years of marriage with her handsome husband, she has learned so much about God's redemption and love. They have a little boy who is almost two and loves playing in their backyard with their seven chickens and two cats. Alex finished her M.A. in Intercultural Studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary the year before Noah was born, and is passionate about latino culture, coffee, calligraphy, and connecting with fellow moms! Just recently, her and her husband started Somerville Coffee Co. where they roast delicious coffee for their local community! You can find their coffee at somervillecoffee.com and connect with her on Instagram via alexandra_som.