So our family devotion times have been pretty hit and miss.
Not in consistency. We’ve been consistent.
But success has been considerably harder to measure.
One night the girls will impress us with what they retained from the evening before: “Immanuel means ‘God with us!’”
The next night Hattie interrupts the prophecy in Isaiah with this question: “Why do your teeth stay in your mouth?”
Since it just so happened that we started doing devotions during the Christmas season most of our discussions have centered on Jesus’ birth. However, something else Hattie has said during every devotion every night stands out- even above the random dental questions.
It will be just as we are finishing up recounting some different aspect of the Christmas story: “An angel came to Mary and told her she was going to have the baby Jesus…”
When Hattie will pipe up with excitement, like she can’t wait to tell us the news, “And Jesus died on the cross, and then he growed again!”
Me: “God told us all the way back in the Old Testament that Jesus was coming.”
Hattie (suddenly all worked up and breathy): “And Jesus died on the cross, and then he growed again!
“The Wise Men brought him gifts…”
“And Jesus died and growed again!”
Seriously. This has happened every night. On repeat.
And we have corrected her (both her timing and her English). Every night. On repeat.
“You’re right, sweetie, but that didn’t happen yet. Right now we’re talking about Jesus’ birth. And it’s rose again.”
Back to baby Jesus.
But then I read this verse: “In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” John 1:4-5
When it was part of my Advent reading a few mornings ago, it immediately caught my attention as out of place. I’m pretty sure I thought, “Hey, this is not a Christmas verse.” Where’s the census and King Herod? I want to read about angels. What’s this got to do with the baby Jesus?
And then I realized something (something I’m pretty sure I should have figured out about 20 years ago)…
Every verse in the Bible is a Christmas verse.
The Christmas story as recorded in Matthew and Luke points us to God and his incredible love for us, without a doubt. But there is no verse in the Bible that isn’t there to point us to God.
And while that star in the east was a pretty darn good pointer too, if Jesus hadn’t “died on the cross and growed again” we would have no chance of ever making it to Him.
There would be no hope beyond December 25th. Christmas day would just be another day, and I would have neither Light nor Life.
Hattie hasn’t been interrupting us.
She has been reminding us.
Because with all the fuss and fun and sweetness surrounding Christ’s birth, it is terribly easy to separate the baby Jesus in the manger from the dying Jesus on the cross.
And that is a terrible mistake.
We need the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for salvation and for peace, for hope and joy and goodwill towards men just as much as we need baby Jesus in the manger.
Our children need it too.
So remember Hattie’s words, and over these next few days rejoice with your children over Jesus’ birth and his death and resurrection.
And thank him too. ‘Cause how else do you think your teeth stay in your mouth?