Reading the Christmas StoryDecember 18, 2017
…Continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
— 2 Timothy 3:14,15
When my sisters and I were young, Dad would take time on Christmas morning to read the Christmas story to our family. He’d sit in his recliner in the corner of the living room near the Christmas tree, and he’d call for us to come near where we could hear. Mother, Ronda, Lori, and I would gather around as Dad opened his King James Bible to the familiar Christmas passage in Luke. If we were really attentive and Dad thought he still had our attention, he would take extra time to turn to Matthew’s account of the three wise men who came to worship Jesus as a young child. I especially loved it when he told us the story of the three wise men!
Although Dad did not continue this family tradition throughout my growing-up years, the years that he did make that a part of our Christmas morning impacted me personally as a young boy. I remember how his voice carried such authority as he read those sections of Scripture to us.
Do you read this story at Christmastime? Or do you and your family members simply dive into gifts and food and let the most important moment of the day slip by? I encourage you not to miss this great opportunity to put Jesus in the center of your Christmas by reading the story of His birth to your family!
In Second Timothy 3:14 and 15, Paul told Timothy, “…Continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
How I wish my father had continued that family tradition, because the story of Christmas is truly the center of what the holiday is all about. In those moments when Dad read the Word to us on Christmas mornings, he was aflame with the Spirit. Over the years, however, that flame started gradually burning dimmer and dimmer. Dad always faithfully took us to church and taught us to put the Lord first in our lives, but that bright flame I remember burning in his heart when I was a young boy grew to a simmer over a number of years, and eventually he stopped reading the Christmas story to us at Christmastime. Thankfully, later in my father’s life, that flame for the things of God began to burn again.
When the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, he stated that he had heard the Holy Scriptures since childhood — and that they were able to make him “wise” unto salvation. This word “wise” is the Greek word sophos, and it denotes special wisdom or special insight. It clearly means that even a child can have special insight into the Word of God if his parents or parental authority pours it into him at an early stage.
I’m so thankful that my mother consistently taught the Bible to me. In fact, my earliest memories are when mother would lie at my side each night with a big picture Bible and instill those Bible stories into me. As a result of that continual imparting of scriptural truth into my young heart, I began to receive spiritual insight at a very early age. Just as Paul told Timothy, it made me “wise” — the Greek word sophos — or especially enlightened. I was so full of insight, in fact, that I was able to walk the aisle and surrender my heart to Jesus at the age of five and truly comprehend what I was doing.
The Word of God is powerful, and if you have younger children or grandchildren, this Christmas I urge you to make the telling of the Christmas story the main theme of your day’s celebration. It won’t hurt the kids to wait a few more minutes before they dive into the gifts. And telling this story will remind them what this day is all about. As Scripture promises, it will bring wisdom and special insight to everyone who listens! Can you think of any better gift to give to your children on Christmas Day?
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, this is a simple, yet powerful Sparkling Gem that I’ve read today. It is something I can implement in my family starting this year. Holy Spirit, give me the courage and boldness to tell my family that we’re starting with God’s Word first — and then we’ll dive into the gifts and presents. I ask You, Holy Spirit, to honor this commitment to bring special wisdom and insight to my children — and to us — as a result of giving the Word of God first place in our Christmas Day.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I confess that this year will mark a Christmas that’s very different than those we’ve experienced in previous years. This year we are starting a new tradition with eternal significance — one that we’ll continue year after year. We will begin our Christmas morning with the reading of the Christmas story together as a family. This will teach us all patience, and it will put the most important element of Christmas — Jesus — right in the center of the day as just as He ought to be. And as a result, we will all grow in wisdom and insight regarding the significance of that special day, for the One whose birth we are celebrating has been made unto us wisdom!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- Does your family gather together on Christmas morning to read the story of Jesus’ miraculous birth from the gospels (see Matthew 1,2; Luke 1,2)? If not, why not make a plan to do so?
- If you have children, why not let them ask questions about what you are reading? It will invigorate the conversation and make it much more interactive. You will be surprised by some of their thoughts and insights!
- Did anyone take the time to read the Christmas story to you when you were a child? If not, how do you think it might have impacted you if that had been part of your Christmas Day experience?