Thursday, December 18, 2014
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The Christmas season always involves these big shopping decisions, "What should we get for the kids?" Well, our children over the years were always helpful enough to provide us with a list. Now it's kids and grandkids. And now it's our grandchildren that really have great lists.
My wife and I have our own list of what we think our children and grandchildren need. For example, young boys need clothes but they don't get very excited about them under the Christmas tree. Right? They don't want clothes as Christmas presents. So we've got their list, we've got our list, and then there's a third factor: what we can afford, and that is pretty decisive. That's when I wish my childhood fantasies about Santa really were the way that gifts get under the tree, but then, sadly I know better.
If we put all this information in a spreadsheet it would probably make our lives easier. I don't know if I have any advice that will make your Christmas gift selections easier, but I can help you remember what your child really needs.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Greatest Gift a Parent Can Give a Child."
Which leads us to our word for today from the Word of God in Malachi 2, and I'll begin reading at verse 13. God says, "You flood the Lord's altar with tears, you weep and wail because He no longer pays attention to your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. You ask, 'Why?' It is because the Lord is acting as a witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. Has not the Lord made them one? In flesh and spirit they are His. And why one? Because He was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit and do not break faith with the wife of your youth."
Now, the Old Testament prophet seems to be saying here that godly children come from a mom and dad who are keeping their marriage commitments to one another, who really love each other. The greatest gift you can give your child is to love their father or to love their mother. There's a tragic tendency in marriage that happens when we are not getting along as well as we should with our spouse. And that's to shift our love over to the children. We focus on the children instead of loving each other and that's not the way it was meant to be. A child is meant to be covered with the overflow of his parent's love for each other.
I remember when my wife and I were kind of kissing in the kitchen one time and our youngest was pretty little. All of a sudden he was pounding on his high chair, laughing, giggling, applauding. I don't know how well you kiss to laughter and applause. I don't do too well with that. But it's almost as if he was saying, "Go to it, Mom and Dad!" He was cheering for our love.
A child's security is rooted in knowing that the love from which he came is still going strong. So the Bible says, "Guard yourself in spirit." Look at what may have crept into your spirit to put out the fire recently. Have you neglected your time together? Have you forgotten some of the good in that person you married because you've become so conscious of the frustrations? Have you let romance be crowded out by routine? Maybe there are unresolved issues that could be helped if you could love enough to seek counsel together. Maybe you've even allowed someone or something else to claim some of the affection you promised exclusively to your partner.
The most important list you could make for the holiday season is the list of things you can do to strengthen your marriage, because the children are watching. God is watching. A Mom and Dad in love...that is the greatest gift you could give your child.