This broadcaster has 478 podcast archives available on-demand.
Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.
November 22, 2021 1:00 am
How do we get our kids to care about the real meaning of Christmas? Clayton Greene offers a creative and personal idea.
Show Notes and Resources
Find Clayton's advent blocks here: https://adventblocks.com/
Find resources from this podcast at https://shop.familylife.com/Products.aspx?categoryid=130.
Download FamilyLife's new app! https://www.familylife.com/app/
Check out all that's available on the FamilyLife Podcast Network. https://www.familylife.com/familylife-podcast-network/
I really love Christmas. You are the biggest Christmas woman in the world. I figure related to Santa Claus and I might've married screws because were little opposite on this welcome to family life today. We want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most and Wilson Dave Wilson and you can find firstname.lastname@example.org or on our family life. This is family life today describe Christmas morning at our house.
I only want talk about this. I don't get excited as you are pitting you all I know is the night before. Actually, months before I start seeing gifts come into our house. Amazon's dropping stuff on the front porch of a mic and every year we talk about the budget we do talk about it and somehow somebody all I know is this. I don't think anybody in the world has more gifts under the tree than we became see the other matter that is true Smith. I love giving gifts to our kids. You tell them what I like sitting on the couch Christmas morning terrible because Dave is so depressed and then his depression goes into anger and is our kids start opening gifts he's like are you kidding me what you spent and this last five Christmases I am I wrong here.
I'm better. Yes, you are much better could be slid on the I'm better for a minute but I want to know you are better because we were doing better with the budget I either just like giving me more leeway now.
I mean I do I I've matured, but I mean that was the Wilson I think we both Christmas morning and I do like gifts. But here's the struggle that I've had with even having small kids is I like that giftgiving and Christmas to me really is about Jesus. But once our kids were born, it became more commercialized in their eyes and in I think our culture size and so instead of being about Jesus and I always wanted to be about Jesus and the gift of his life and birth, and what that really means, but man the kids were totally into Nerf guns now and there into remote control cars and instead of being about the birth of Jesus. It became what am I getting for Christmas gathering or talk about this is it can be very easy to lose the real meaning of Christmas. I mean we done our best to instill that in our family and our kids. But it's so easy to get caught up in things that really Christmas is really about. I think we as parents, let me say this as a woman I get lost in the cooking the cookies the movie the gifts. The wrapping presents and so even for adults is easy to get lost in that and I think his families were always looking for ways how can we bring Jesus back into Christmas and importance of that we have discovered a way to do that and we got going green in the in the studio with us today going looking for wife today. Thank you for having me and this is precisely the problem that our family was trying to solve. When we came over the box pretty interesting.
What we discovered about what you discovered about your Christmas, but first of all, you live in Raleigh North Carolina tells a little about your your job, your family, you don't work while you live in Raleigh a couple of years ago I was fortunate enough to help the church in Wilmington, North Carolina family is back in Raleigh-Durham now because of some needs that my daughter has been a little closer to the Duke and UNC medical system, but so I now have the great privileges of having what I call my dream job, which is I'm the director of the summa collaborative fight in the summer church in Raleigh-Durham and is the director some collaborative have the opportunity to help 49 churches that we planted continue to be able to work together so that those leadership teams flourish. Those churches are flourishing so that we can continue to plant more churches. My wife is an attorney at a clinical research company have a nine-year-old Cara and a seven-year-old Susan and if they were here, you'd be more interested in them. That's a good intro to your kids.
But Clayton, you just said like this is been an issue for you guys to talk about that a little bit. So what you're describing. Three years ago our daughter Cara who is the true stellar of our family. She's nine now she sat across from my wife and I and she said mommy and daddy you say that Christmas is all about Jesus, but it feels like Christmas is all about presence what it was about December 26 I was trying to say to my what is all about like a knife in the back and we couldn't do anything about it. Like how you can turn that around in three days and so when you're there you like she's right she does feel like that beautiful thing about Christmas time is that there are so many things that help us anticipate December 25 lights movies like you said cookies music parties music the carols we sing carols every movie they're coming there so many things that create this anticipation, but all the anticipation.
Unfortunately, most tangible theme in the home that is in your buddies anticipating is what Dave doesn't like is the building around the tree.
The things that are being wrapped and so that ends up being a driving force of what were looking forward to so fast for 11 months later in November of I guess it was 2018. Maybe I sat across from my wife Kristin 319 sat across from Chris and I said all right we need to find something that builds in anticipation all throughout December. That is something that reminds the girls of Jesus of the reason of the season. If we want to say the rhyming way in order to do this and so I looked for a long long time online and just didn't find something that quite fit for our family. So I started sketching and drawing.
I love doing woodworking and so I started considering different tangible object. Objects that we could create good in our home.
I put three different options on paper in front of Kristin. She rarely very quickly pick the one that we now know is evident box.
That afternoon I email my friend Chris Bartolotta who is a author's editor summer church is that if you write stories.
I'll make these blocks and let's do this admin thing together for these 25 days that first year he was literally writing the stories the same night that we were doing and he would write and we would read them to her kids would write them he would we would read them to our kids and so that's how it happened. We were thrilled and amazed at how when we got to the 24th and 25th that year. That certainly goes in anticipation lights and cookies and presents. There also was in anticipation were our girls really wanted to read the story. Something had been built something about how we were doing. This was making them excited about December 25 for something more than just presence and mainly being excited about Jesus coming. Well, we got the block certain here in the studio.
But before Doug about the actual block talk about Advent because I think a lot of people never even understood what is there is anticipation built into the Advent season that most of us don't even understand. So explain to us what is Advent and then the box Advent is its meaning. Like in anticipation something new is coming and so historically, the church has done some churches will have done different days mostly Sundays we will have an admit Reese with candles that are lighting some people they'll have Advent in terms of in anticipation they're crating and it's chocolates love the chocolate love the candles right so these things that the church is used that families have used is meant to create anticipation and much to what you were saying before, it's that some of the anticipation that are culture, pushes on us right Christmas commercials and things that begin coming on and in November as soon as howling is over those types of things end up kind of covering sometimes with the family and what the church is doing as a relates to admit in the church.
The chocolate calendars are good and the candles are good as well. But in the home. We wanted something that will stand when the home for us to do and so blocks how they how they work as you line them up on a mantle run a bad word on the floor.
We've seen people do you line them up one through 25 every day. You're turning the block and it reveals an image that corresponds to the stories. The stories are written to be the entire story of Scripture relating to God's presence in the incarnation, but the really neat part is on top of every day there's a star that moves across and so on day one. It's on top of one on day two is on top of the two, three and four and so forth.
And on the other in the foreign on top of the 25 is a globe.
So what you get to see is all throughout the month of December.
This star presenting God's presence is getting closer and closer to the world and so on the 24th on 25th.
They've reached each other and we get to celebrate this fact that God has come to earth to stay to be with us. The fact that your daughter would say to you.
Christmas is all about presence instead of Jesus. The fact that she even said that to you said that you have been pouring into her about this meaning of Christmas and what it's really about. How did you guys do that even before she turned she was six when she said that yes 26. As we anticipate Christmas. How do we get our kids to care about the real meaning of Christmas when you know their little so it mean daily Bible reading is one thing that we've done since they were were very young nightly Bible reading nightly prayer.
Of course, like everyone there times when were more consistent the times and were less consistent than an attempt to be consistent over a long period of time I think is what got us there hero has always been exceptionally engaged with any story we read her in the consistency with which we told her and read her the stories of the Bible as crating amount of engagement with her that we are thrilled and thankful to God that she is responding in that in that way. I also think being a part of our church that consistently is reminding us in our kids team is giving us resources in order to be able to do with them seasonally as well so I'm imagining back to that conversation. What you say to her when hate you guys parents you guys are all about the presence and not about Jesus when he just how did you respond I think I was probably quiet for a few minutes and I didn't immediately jump out with with an answer, and I'm sure we probably reminded her of the truths that we believe, but this is one of the things I love about family life and in what you all are are trying to do is that our kids more than anyone notice the difference in how we live what we say we believe in more than anything. That's what Carol was pointing out and that moment is you're saying you believe one thing and the honesty of kids. She just said but were living something else am really thankful that she told us about that because that something that we have become increasingly aware of that. We have to live in front of them the same thing that we believe the proverb trim of child in the way he should go, and he went out the part permit a pastor one time listening to a sermon on that text talk about how that is definitely teaching, training is more about practice training is more about living and so it's the things that they learn from you by watching us as the things they learn from us by doing it with us that actually stick with them forever, and the truths that we teach them and we want to bring those two things into congruence so that you create these blocks were your girls excited as you introduce very wizardly for the guinea pigs you try it at your house first.
Absolutely. And I don't know that everybody wants to do what we did that first year. Our girls love it but are blocks are about three and half inches by 3 1/2 inches and they paint them on every story and direction.
Been a couple of families who find out that we did that we just give them the God we tell them go make your own blocks and have them think that there is what became arts and crafts time.
They definitely were that were the guinea pigs and and there's a few tweaks that we made for the sets that we have today, so I your house.
You put a monumental me how to do it because are so large they're actually on the floor. Also like so you still use the big ones with last year on down dominant honestly and will try to convince them to use the ones we don't have to paint this year. As you know we do it the last two years are done in the living room. It's close to the couch. You gotta watch out for some of those things you were.
It's a good experience for our family. We wanted to be in laundering a whole couch because we are doing our Advent calendar and there's two sets because they both wanted to paint them so there's one there's one on one side of the hallway. There's one on those Idaho this past year we did have this sit on our mantle as well, yeah, and as I'm looking at really the books that come with the block. Some in the blocks are sitting here in their beautiful but here's what I was shocked at as I opened up because I hadn't seen what you know. Each block represents day one day to use start literally with Adam and Eve. So you mean you done about Advent you know, creating an expectation up to Christmas year starting on the beginning of the creation of the world and mankind, and then next 24 days right yes I talk about the journey I met some places are specially thinking as a parent I really want to teach my kids the story of God. This is a great way to do it right, absolutely telling the whole story about God's incarnation, presence with his people and you have to start with Adam and Eve, because that's where he walked in the garden with them and you see all throughout the rest of Scripture. This longing sometimes the longing is stronger. Sometimes the running is more evidence of God's people, but there are these times of the callout they say are you here, do you hear us, are you with us, but you also see this thread throughout all of Scripture that God is pursuing his people.
Now we do give you seven full days of New Testament stuff so you get like the Christmas carols and you gotta get into the Christmas story right. I want to know that you're actually Christmas story as well. We actually think that Christmas story makes the most sense within the context of the whole Bible. Now, can you take us through what it's been like for your kids. Do you feel like they grasp it with her questions were there anticipation they look forward to it. So I of course I can't promise a Rice family will have the same experience but care this year so there's a refrain that in the of each chapter as well. It it it is something that the kids begin to learn day after day they start saying it with you by day five, there were actually parts of what we were learning in the God that Cara one night she actually began to pray that longing prayer that said, in the V chapters and God, are you going to come back winter unit come back so it actually builds his anticipation for Christmas but also builds in anticipation for being with God forever in eternity as well yeah I love that you know we are called his parents as followers of Christ to impart our faith down. I mean I think of Deuteronomy 6, you know. Teach them the love, love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind do this as you walk along the way. As you sit at the table as you and me. This is sort of a do you do it at night you do the morning is it all day. Is it different. Our family does it at night on which auto couple families that do it in the morning, but most of them that's younger kids. They like just can't wait to read the story.
They can't wait to turn the block and so some of them with a little bit earlier in the day. We usually do is do hours in the evening. I think one of the things that we maybe didn't know, in the very beginning the ends of being a neat feature as well as when you turn it every day and you see those images that represent David the image that represents Joseph and the kids begin to they can recognize those images and they begin to know those stories many many families though start memorizing it and will start every day there on day 17 and they'll tell you what the stories were one through 16 so it does in the kind of bleeding into the rest of the day as well, but we also are trying to be really intentional with making sure that it remains simple enough that families who may not be a as engaged in their faith, as I am, or has engaged their church as I am can do it. We had some people give this away to nonbelievers last year because of something simple, it's ozone. The story doesn't take a lot of time, but it definitely routes the family and those in anticipation for December 25 about Jesus. So I'm nothing. There's something powerful there about the fact that some families take it and it is something that they talk about all day and some families at something that they do and it's it's very brief. One of the things that for me was neat is how the kids love it so much that sometimes Mrs. unfortunate. I think you would agree, but we recognize it's very much true there's one parent that is more engaged in their faith in the other and I think one of the beautiful thing this is with 25 days that one that first parent who maybe makes the purchase and is actually beginning to lead their children and it at some point is 25 days that other parent was a little bit less engaged is one to be hearing the stories and they are actually in a begin to understand the story of the Bible is urgent.
There just hearing the stories, but I bet they also get asked to read, so I think they were actually gonna pull some people into engagement there.
That may not be engaged in the real meaning of Christmas.
Were it not for something like this.
The family was doing talk to families that maybe haven't done anything like this before now. Christmas is a family and it's all the things that we talk about that have become commercialized. But Jesus is important to them and maybe they have teenagers like how would you coach parents like Kate kids. This is what they're doing and I like literally kneeling yeah now we heard this year that teenagers were engaging almost as much as the younger Jordan children. Maybe our kids age were Chris is his writing is on we earned 70 times it is fun, so there's some things in there that's there for the five-year-old it also is exceptionally rich. One of his philosophies of of writing i.e. I think maybe he says CS Lewis said a book needs to be good enough for an adult. If it's good enough for a kid would explain Narnia.
Clearly that was his philosophy. Nothing president I will be as well.
So we say that they could become a primary age ranges 3 to 13.
Everything is included. If you've never done anything before everything you need in order to crate a meaningful moment in your home this Christmas centered around Jesus will come with it and so I think that creates the simplicity of it. We found that adults, teenagers alike were responding to the content of the God we also do have an adult God that if you want to go little bit deeper they'll be an option for a teenager and adult as well. It is interesting to think about Christmas and and of course I love to give gifts that we've also had this discussion with their kids, even the night of Christmas all the packages have been opened and already those gifts are beginning to not meet the expectations now that they had and so we've talked about like is interesting that you think this gift that you think anticipating to fill you up and it doesn't think that's the beauty of the gospel is the beauty of the real meaning of Christmas of the resurrection of the birth of Jesus of. He continues to fill a set because he is the meaning of Christmas here and I think you know the beautiful thing and I you know I sit here is a now a grandfather of six grandkids. I'm confessing. We never, I don't think I let her family well in in seizing advent season grabbing that moment starting end of November. You know, beginning December and making it about the real meaning of Christmas.
I mean I as a pastor I'm writing my Christmas sermon 30 years in row in your get ready to preach that to a congregation, because it's a big deal to Churchill Christmas and Easter a lot more people coming but thinking man. I didn't do a great job.
I have been waiting for this confession 35 years will I get out. They get. If I had the head that blocks you know maybe I do better, but I do think in some ways there's a lot of dead like me there like me if I had a tool of vehicle to help me that would be some I could bring in our family and say okay hey I was going to go but we have a tool here. Let's start December 1 and let's utilize this advent season to really and I think I'm bet you Clayton you tell me have you heard stories from parents who said yeah sort of doing this for my family, but it help me understand and get ready for the real meaning of Christmas of your death. Absolutely the guide in the blogs. It is simple enough for your kids to understand and to celebrate, but it also is also rich in a way that I teared up this year the second year, I think it was on day seven.
I specifically remember reading it and I remember beginning to cry because of the, the meaning because of the orientation to life that the story of the Bible and the gospel gives to me and I was sitting there with my family and where reading and management of that day. I don't know which day will be this year, but it definitely does have an impact on the whole family that here's what I know as a grandpa, your kids, you can remember your tears, probably more than what you read that day that this story impacted that emotionally because it's true. All of us as parents head into the holiday season, wanting to make the birth of Jesus and the celebration of his birth. The center point of what we do as a family and yet the holiday season has a way of distracting us getting our minds on other things that I really love the perspective that Dave and M have talked with Clayton Green about today how we can be more purposeful and intentional as parents to put Jesus at the center of our holiday celebration. If you'd like to find out more about the advent blocks the Clayton was talking about today you can go to our website. Family life to.com. You can order it from us email@example.com or call to order at one 800 FL today Lynch one 803 586-329-1800 F as in family L as in life and in the word today.
I know this is a busy week for many of us, and then the holidays right behind that some of you are already thinking about your plans for Black Friday or cyber Monday or some of you already thinking about giving Tuesday next Tuesday is giving Tuesday, a day when many people will make a donation to support ministries like family life to the if that's been your practice in the past, or if you been thinking about giving Tuesday donation next week. You can actually do your giving Tuesday giving today at family life.
We have a year and matching gift that's been made available to us here at family life so that your donation to this ministry will be matched dollar for dollar. And when you donate today. Your donation counts toward our giving Tuesday total so you can do your giving Tuesday, giving in advance by going firstname.lastname@example.org or calling one 800 FL today. Your donation will be doubled dollar for dollar what you give is good to be matched from the matching gift fund and would like to say thank you for your donation by sending you a copy of Dane Ortman's new devotional from the book of Psalms 150 daily devotions. The book is called in the Lord. I take refuge great devotional to use through the Christmas season and into the new year and were to send you up a unique set of playing cards that include conversation starters on each card so that as you're playing cards during the holidays. You can spark some meaningful conversations as well. Again, go to our website. Family life today.com to make a giving Tuesday donation today or call one 800 FL today to donate online and help us take advantage of the matching gift that's been made available to us by giving to family life today and we hope you can join us again tomorrow. David and Wilson are to talk about how important it is for honor to be at the center of our homes how important it is for us to honor one another in our marriages and in our families will hear from them tomorrow. Hope you can be with us on behalf of our hosts David and Wilson. I'm Bob Lapine will see you back next time for another edition of family life today. Family life to day is a production of family life accrue ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most