It’s Christmas Eve, and if anyone reading this is like us, you’re stuck somewhere between finishing touches, anticipation, and looking forward to the exhale as this holiday winds down.
As in so many things, SAM and I are a study in the attraction of opposites. He is usually full of Christmas joy, relishing every dollar spent and every stranger with whom he strikes up a temporary friendship. I am more contemplative, struggling to make sure the Savior doesn’t get lost in the shuffle and watching the budget like a hawk.
This year however, is different. We buried my FIL in October, and all of us including the children, are a bit stunned at the realization that my husband’s grandmother is the only grandparent they have left; that neither my husband or I have a living blood parent. My stepmother is great, and we love her, but there is a hole that has even sucked the wind out of the youngest and most festive Christmas celebrants in our household. Family matters, bringing me to the point of this post, which is going to be shorter than its introduction might indicate.
Our pastor went off script today, and what started out as a seemingly typical sermon on the First Messianic Family of Mary and Joseph, turned into an exposition of how God intends families to function. From here, I’ll just bullet point the highlights as I have a meal to prep:
- God sent his son into the world as a human baby and set Him in a family that he’d spent generations preparing. The church is made up of families. The legacy of spiritual truth or apostasy is handed down through families. As the homes crumble, so do nations and the churches in them.
- Fathers are supposed to be the primary drivers and teachers of the ways and laws of God to their children. The church can support, but too many people leave the job to their local children’s and youth church ministries. And too many of them are too concerned with cultural relevance.
- The home is not a democracy. The father’s word is law. (He noted how hard it would be to get just about anyone in the Western world to agree to a home where the man is in really charge)
- The Bible offers instruction and parallels over and over again -in the New as well as Old Testaments- about the importance of a man ruling his home well.
- A large part of the reason the church is losing so many young people from one generation to the next is because rather than passing down timeless Biblical and spiritual truths, the church is allowing each generation to “express itself and its opinions” about who they thing God is to them. Included in this is the changing of the way we worship, dress, speak, all of it.
- Instead of the older women teaching the younger women, the older women are trying to be like the younger women.
- As 2018 comes in, our church renews a commitment to teaching men to teach their children, love their wife, and teaching women to learn to respect their husbands.
- One of the cool things I’ve noted about our church on previous occasions is the high number of men in attendance. That is the norm, not a Christmas abberation. Not enough young men are there, but if this thing on our pastor’s heart catches fire in the pews, we might see young people with a heart for God increase in number.
There is nuance in the sermon that I don’t really have time to add. Just know that our large church is one where you’ll not find anything even slightly resembling a cult-like, controlling atmosphere. Far from it, in fact.
That our pastor had the backbone to say these things boldly and without any qualifiers was noteworthy in itself.
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6