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Posted by Children's Ministry on with 1 Comments

When our third child was still in preschool, our comfortable upper middle class existence was erased as my husband’s new business venture became an insatiable vacuum, sucking all our assets into its abyss without any return on the investment. In retrospect, we allowed the business to hemorrhage for much too long, but at the time it seemed like the only thing we could do.

Our kids adapted beautifully to the new normal, often thinking the whole thing was one exciting adventure after another. Rather than being embarrassed as we traded in our “his and hers” sleek rides for one ancient shared hand-me-down, they found the uncertainty of cresting certain hills in our neighborhood a cheer worthy event. And the time we had to choose between paying our electric bill and feeding them? Well, they thought “camping at home”, as we referred to the month it took us to scrape together money to get the electricity turned back on, was something everyone should get to do. Their sunny dispositions and natural inclinations to look on the bright side during that time were contagious: I often found myself thinking of each new financial hardship as some sort of challenge that we got to work together to solve.

At some point in the late winter or early spring of the third year of scrimping and scraping out a humble existence it hit me that it would probably be the last year all three children would still believe in Santa. Somehow, I wanted to make sure that the magic and innocence of Christmas was alive for my kids like never before that year. I began with a plan, calculating how much time I had and what I needed to do. With an urgency often reserved for empty handed husbands on Christmas Eve, I began scouring sales, haunting thrift shops, sneaking off to garage sales and literally saving nickels and dimes whenever I could. I remember being grateful beyond belief for a birthday gift card I received in June because I would allow me to buy something way out of my budget on my eldest son’s list. I knew that he would have no choice to believe that only a jolly elf could magically make such an expensive item appear under our tree, and that’s what I desperately wanted was for him to believe just a little longer! For almost a year I worked to make Christmas magic happen, each day building a little more into the surprise.

Those lean years taught me all sorts of lessons on life, love, faith, family, hope and perseverance. But reflecting on it now, on the other side of the ordeal and fighting the urge to stress over all the little things I still need to do to get ready for Christmas, God has yet another lesson for me to learn from those lean years. I’ve never thought about the parallel of how I frantically yet faithfully spent time each day that year stockpiling things I thought we needed to help my boys believe, and how often I’ve been lackadaisical in training them up in faith.

Ephesians 6:4 tells us to bring our children up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord. I know this verse, I teach this verse, I’ve printed this verse and stuck it on my mirror, yet I have failed to consistently provide the instruction that comes from the Lord. Why was Santa more important than Jesus for even a second? What would it have been like if I spent that year giving my children’s relationship with our Risen King the same urgent attention I gave that final year of Santa belief?

Deuteronomy 6: 5-7 says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (Emphasis mine)

It is by the grace of God that my boys love Him with their hearts, soul and strength; because I will be the first to admit that I failed more than I triumphed. My prayer for you this Christmas is for you to find time to share your hearts with your children. Tell them where your hope lies, help them read God’s amazing love letter to them in His Word, never give up praying for them and with them, and remind them of the greatest gift the world has ever received as you celebrate the joys of Christmas together.

Merry Christmas with love,

Lara Kaufman
Director of Children's Ministries

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Darrell Dudley December 22, 2015 12:53pm

So True, I love this and you and yours in Christ. "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us...full of Grace and Truth. MERRY CHRISTMAS, you do allow God to use you for many others.