The Bible is full of agrarian metaphors. One of the greatest of these metaphors is based on the principle of sowing and reaping. Sowing and reaping in the world of agriculture works like this: if a person plants a field with wheat seeds, that is, if a person sows wheat, then wheat is what will be harvested, or reaped. No corn or beans or squash or tomatoes will be harvested if wheat seed is what has been planted. Harvesting anything other than wheat from sown wheat seed is absolutely impossible.
Happy New Year! The older we get, the faster the years seem to come and go. It is as if we began 2022 just yesterday, but 2023 is now upon us. Many of us like to begin each new year by making resolutions—new year, new start. This year I am encouraging Christian parents to make three resolutions for raising Christian children: correct our children according to God’s word, eat at least one meal together as a family every day, and engage in family worship or devotions daily.
If we pursue these resolutions diligently and pray continually for guidance and help from the Holy Spirit, 2023 can be a year of great spiritual growth for our families.
In spite of Christmas displays in the stores in October and continuous Christmas music on the radio since the day after Thanksgiving, it isn’t Christmastime yet. According to the historical calendar of the Christian Church, we are currently in the season of Advent. Taken from the Latin, adventus, meaning coming or arrival, Advent is the season leading up to Christmas that is symbolic of the world’s longing and waiting for the promised Messiah of God who would take away the sins of the world. Though it is often unobserved in Evangelical circles today, I want to offer just three reasons why we should consider observing Advent with our children.
On a morning not too many years ago, while standing out front opening doors and greeting the grammar children getting out of their cars, I opened the door for a boy who was navigating his book bag and lunchbox through the door of the car while at the same time trying to get a large and elaborately-colored poster through as well while attempting not to damage it. In taking the poster from him so he could get out of his mom’s car safely, I was able to see how much detail and care had been taken to make this poster dynamic.
In the process of transferring possession of his project back to him, I told him, “Nice poster, you put a lot of work into that.” To which he quickly, and honestly replied: “Thank my mom, she did most of it.” I felt a bit perplexed, but not surprised, as I watched him hustle the rest of the way into the front doors of the grammar building to turn in “his” poster to his teacher.
It’s a long-standing Trinitas tradition to close out each day with the entire school singing the Doxology together. To lift our voices together and sing “Praise God from Whom all blessings flow. Praise Him all creatures here below. Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts. Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.” is the best way I know how to depart one another’s company. It is like we take all of the energy expended, the knowledge and wisdom pursued, the time invested in training affections, and the virtue cultivated and affix the postage of worshipful prayer to it before sending it heavenward for the day. It is a glorious experience. Even if the little ones sing a tad too loudly to be on key and I struggle to start on the same pitch two days in a row, it is a glorious experience.
Parents are in the business of working themselves out of a job. Think about it: from early in a child’s life, the role of parents is to prepare children to be independent. We train them to eat, use the restroom, brush their teeth, dress themselves, read and write, say please and thank you, and lots of other things before they ever lose their first tooth. It doesn’t stop there, of course. By the time they’re teenagers we’re making sure they can get themselves out of bed and to school or work on time, drive themselves around, make all the right friends, take the classes that lead them to the best colleges and then on to the best careers. All these things we do because we know they’ll be on their own soon, and we won’t be there to tell them what to do.
Have you ever bribed your children to eat broccoli? I know, I know, some moms are bragging right now about their children loving vegetables from the womb. Sure, we can argue that some do, but many do not, and so getting them to eat their broccoli is all about cultivating their taste.
One hundred twenty-eight years ago, the United States Congress officially recognized the social and economic impact of American workers by, ironically, giving them a day off. Since that time, the first Monday in September has been a federal holiday often celebrated with parades, fireworks, and backyard barbecues. Acting as the unofficial end of summer, Labor Day might also represent the end of lazy summer living and the start of the demands of a new school year. Yet for the thoughtful Christian, even a secular holiday such as Labor Day should be cause for contemplation.