Point Your Child to Jesus With Traditions
Q: What is one family tradition or routine you have that points your child to Jesus?
Chere Williams: My daughter and I love to attend church. We actually go on Wednesday for Bible study and for Sunday service, but I believe that Jesus has to be part of our daily lives and not just in a legalistic way. There are two routines I practice with my daughter on a daily basis that point her to Jesus. Every night when I make her lunch I include a napkin that has a handwritten bible verse on it and underneath it I make it more personal to her so that she can relate to it throughout her day. When I pick her up from school we’ll talk about it on the way home. The other routine we have is we pray together every morning before I leave her off at school. This is a sweet time we share together and we pray about everything. I always tell her that God is available 24/7 and she can pray anytime and anywhere. I’m hoping these routines will encourage her to develop habits that will draw her nearer to God and help her strengthen her intimate relationship with the Lord.
Dusty Shell: In our home, turning five is a big deal. It’s the marker for starting kindergarten, for aging out of the “preschool” stage, and for becoming a big girl or boy. It is also our family tradition that on each child’s fifth birthday, they receive their very own Bible with their name engraved on the front. While storybook bibles are wonderful and still pulled from our shelves after that time, we actively begin to teach our children to search for themselves in the actual God-breathed Scriptures. They always feel so grown up when it comes time for them to receive their own copy of the Word of God. Bibles are treasured possessions around here and I hope it always stays that way. We have given two of our four children their own copies of the KJV Bible and our third child will be getting hers next summer. We spend quite a bit of time pouring over various bibles until we find just the right one to suit each individual child. On their birthday, they open their new gift and then climb into Daddy’s lap to be taught about why it is so important to read our Bibles. It is a precious and special time.
Susan Heim: My boys attend public school, but for the past seven summers they have attended camp at a Christian school. They look forward to seeing their “summer friends” every year (most of whom attend different schools), and I love that they’re getting a concentrated dose of Bible learning. Best of all, they now associate learning about Jesus with fun time. They’re finding out that Jesus is more than just a “summer friend”; they can take Him back to school with them in their hearts. Most of us have wonderful memories of the things we did every summer as children. How exciting that my children’s summer memories will include their favorite friend, Jesus.
Tiffany Malloy: When each of our kids were born, we participated in a child dedication service with our local church. At this service, parents formally presented the children to the church, expressing both their commitment to raising the child in the knowledge of God as well as asking the congregation to stand with them through the various joys and trials of life. One element of the service was the reading of a prayer that the parents wrote for their children. My husband and I had so much fun writing a prayer for each of our children that we decided to make these specific prayers a part of our daily routine.
In the mornings, after everyone is ready for the day but before it’s time for us all to go our separate ways, we gather the kids on the couch and we pray their dedication prayers over them. The prayers are filled with our hopes and dreams for them—that they would know who they are in Christ and that God’s love, kindness, and wisdom would perpetually flow out of them and into the community they are in. The kids look forward to this part of our daily routine, and being reminded of who they are and Whose they are.
Kona Brown: The journey of a Christian family can be counter cultural in many respects! Certainly we’ve found that to add saltiness back into so many celebrations that are seen as “religious holidays” but that have long since lost their rightful focus, is an intentional task, that sometimes challenges your creativity as a parent.
One of the things that we’ve done is try to bring specific focus to our celebration of Jesus’s death and resurrection (Easter), making this our most important celebration of the year and making Him the centre of it. Through storytelling, participation and dramatization our kids have come to understand this emphasis.
They now eagerly anticipate a Christian Seder (Passover meal) each year, with the specific food and activities this includes. We draw relationships between the Passover and important New Testament truths. As it was in the Bible, we try to honour the elaborate teaching experience that this celebration is, using all of our senses to tell the story of God’s grace and through theological, confessional and educational dimensions to participate symbolically in the tale of salvation and the fulfillment and completion of all things in Christ.
Julie Kieras: We have a few things we do as a family to keep our home Christ-centered are praying before meals and bed, reading Bible stories, and regular church attendance. I am sure those are not out of the norm for most families of faith. This question brings to mind two other family practices that helps us point our children to Jesus.
One is that whenever there’s an instance of discipline/training, we always seek prayer with our child and talk about the universal need for Jesus to help us do what is right – that we can’t in and of ourselves sustain a righteous life but need to seek Him for help. We do this because we want the focus to be on forgiveness and God’s Grace and Power in our lives, and don’t want our children to think that if they can just be “good enough” that is enough. Another family tradition is that around Christmas we always do an Advent calendar of activities that focus on giving back and the Christmas story – in a world gone crazy for gifts and glitter, we want to keep the holiday simple enough for our children to enjoy it, to understand the meaning of Christmas and to see it as an opportunity to give to others rather than to just receive.
Melissa Newell: So many things in our daily life that point our children towards Jesus. The first thing that comes to mind is our daily prayer for meals. This is a group effort as each child has their own favorite part of the thankful prayer. I am the one who usually mentions the friends and family who need God’s healing hands, but the children love to be the first ones to say what they are thankful for. Melts my heart.
Other ways I see our children pointing towards Jesus – our youngest has the spirit of Jesus in her heart for animals and is always doing the right thing even when it comes to the smallest little ant. Christmas and Easter are two holidays that our home is running over with the Holy Spirit. From family meals to putting up the many Nativities we have. I can only pray that when they have families of their own, they will continue these traditions and guide their children towards Jesus.
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