We have just celebrated the Christmas season. You probably made some batches of cookies with your child, wrapped a small mountain of gifts in glittery paper, decorated the packages with bows, and lovingly put them under the Christmas tree only to see them shredded open the next morning in record time. After everything was unpacked, your home probably resembled an explosion in a paper factory with shreds of paper everywhere! Yet did you keep in mind what the season was all about? As a Christian parent, you probably did. You remembered that at the center of it all was the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. God came to earth in the flesh and spent His time with sinners in an effort to reunite Himself with a creation that had begun to disregard Him.
Yet in the midst of this celebration, did you realize that there were some subtleties about Christ's birth that rarely if ever make it to the forefront of anyone's mind? For example, did you realize that Jesus was not born to a wealthy priest, Pharisee, or scribe of means, but instead to an unwed mother who stood the risk of being stoned to death for her perceived indiscretion? You might have expected God to choose a better start for His son - if it was you, you probably would have. You might have picked an affluent and well educated married couple to raise your son. A couple who would ensure His health, spirituality, education, and later on fund His mission to save the world from itself. That fictional Jesus would have attracted friends and followers with wealth and influence. Instead, God chose differently. The real Jesus learned early on about working hard to eke out a living. He was well versed in sharing everything He had with a family. He did not dazzle potential followers with an educational background, a membership in the Pharisaic group, or even wealth that would fund His mission. Instead, all He had to offer any follower was a life of hardship, persecution, and accountability before God - and He succeeded!
Continued from above.
Contemplate your birth now. Perhaps you sometimes wish you had different parents. Maybe you are somewhat ashamed of your folks' poverty, style (or lack thereof), or demeanor. Perhaps you always wanted to matter more to them than a business did. Or perhaps you wish they had started a trust fund for you instead of dumping every available penny into their own retirement savings. Maybe you wish you had been sent to private school instead of subsisting in a failing public school system where attendance at math class was akin to running a gauntlet of gang bangers and drug pushers. Perhaps you wish your mom had taken the time to warn you not to make the same mistakes she made, and so you would not have become a parent yourself at such a young age. Maybe you wish your dad had been around long enough to teach you how to interact with a woman without using a fist. Whatever the case may be, did you know that the Bible states that God very carefully creates each person?
This means that even though your circumstances were perhaps less than stellar, you were created with great care by the one who made the universe! Psalm 139:13-14 is very clear in stating that you were made with loving care, not thrown together with spare parts and dumped in a situation for lack of adequate provision. Add to this the fact that God had specific plans for you before you were even born (Jeremiah 1:5), and you may be able to begin seeing the hand of the Creator God in where your life has taken you.
Maybe you are currently living on skid row with your family, or maybe you are living in an apartment that is filled with more strife than love. Perhaps your family life makes Archie Bunker's look like Leave It to Beaver. Whatever your situation is, contemplate your birth. Now contemplate what God says about your birth. Realize that you were put in a specific situation for a specific reason. Realize that God set you up for success and that without the hardships He might have put in your path, you would not currently be reading an article on Christian Parenting but instead might be leafing through an issue of Cigar Aficionado with not a thought about God, eternity, or raising your children.
So go ahead and contemplate your birth. Get back to your roots which are straight at God's feet, and remember that He did not just make you and then forget you, but that instead He placed you in the best possible situation so that you would realize your full potential. Jesus could have been bitter at having the stigma of being the illegitimate son of Joseph attached to Him; instead, He saved the world. What could you do today instead of dwelling on the perceived shortcomings of your upbringing? What could you do today to help your children realize their full potential before God?
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