One Christmas my parents didn’t have a lot of money. I remember them sitting us down and telling us that we probably wouldn’t be getting a lot of presents that year from them. That Christmas morning when I woke up I crept down the steps, knowing that the tree would be empty of gifts. Much to my surprise, instead of finding an empty tree, I found one overflowing with gifts; a true Christmas miracle. With tears, my parents sat us down and explained that some friends had found out about our situation and had surprised my family with presents and Christmas dinner the night before. To this day, I don’t know who those people were, but I remember the gifts I received, and I will never forget that Christmas morning.
It is a story I have told and will tell my children.
I tell them about how God did a miracle for us that night.
I tell them how God used other people to bless our family that Christmas.
I tell them about faithfulness and love.
I tell them that God cares about the little things like Christmas presents for little kids and turkey for Christmas dinner.
And I hope that one day, they will tell the story to their children and their grandchildren.
In Deuteronomy 4:9, Moses tells the people of Israel, “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.”
My guess is that we all have stories. Times where we were taken care of miraculously. Times where God made provision for us in ways we couldn’t imagine. We have moments where God spoke to us in the quiet of the night, comforted us in the darkness of grief, gave us just what we needed at just the right time.
It’s so important that we do not forget the things we have seen or let them fade from our hearts as long as we live.
We need to tell them to our children so they can tell them to their children.
Why is this so important?
Because our children hear a lot of stories.
They hear stories of death and despair.
They hear stories of sadness and hopelessness.
These stories play over and over again on the news, in the headlines, on the radio, and in everyday conversations.
Because they hear a lot of stories that aren’t true.
Fictional stories, fun stories with good lessons and all the feelings, but not true stories that really happened to people they know and love. Stories they can trust because they aren’t just stories…they actually happened to people they know and love.
But when they hear our stories; stories about how we have experienced the love and faithfulness of God, they hear HOPE.
Our hope is found in those moments that go beyond this earth and reach into eternity.
That hope is what we need to share with our children. They need to hear those stories and they need to hear them from us, more that once.
What’s your story? How has God shown up in your life? Find a child and share it with them. They hear plenty of other stories. Let’s give them stories of hope; stories of God’s faithfulness to us and to them.
For more information about
- Kids in Worship
- Determining which Type of Family Ministry model works best for your church
- Discipleship in Intergenerational community
- Encouraging the continued conversation through Practical Discipleship at Home
- Seminars, Workshops, Coaching
About the author
Christina Embree is wife to Pastor Luke, mom to three wonderful kids, and family minister at Nicholasville UMC. She is passionate about seeing churches partnering with families to encourage faith formation at home and equipping parents to disciple their kids in the faith. Currently studying Family, Youth and Children’s Ministry at Wesley Seminary, she also blogs at www.refocusministry.org and is a contributing blogger at D6 Family, Seedbed, and ChildrensMinistryBlog.com