Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year when a spirit of joy seems to cover up the fears, the disappointments and the misgivings for a few weeks. Our hearts turn toward spending more time with our family, and hope arises with God’s eternal promise of new life. When God moved His Son’s address to earth, the angels sang choruses on the night He was born, proclaiming the good news to all mankind! One of my favorite Christmas memories is a story Paul Harvey told on his show—Louis Cassels’ famous parable of the birds. A recap follows.
It was Christmas Eve, and the man’s wife and children were getting ready to attend church. He wasn’t going. “I simply can’t understand what Christmas is all about—I really can’t buy this idea of God becoming a man,” he told his wife.
It had been snowing all day, and the snow came down harder as the man’s family rode off to church without him. He drew a chair up the fireplace and began reading his newspaper. A few minutes later, there was a thudding sound at the kitchen window. When he investigated, he found a flock of birds in the backyard. They had been caught in the storm and were desperately searching for shelter. They were trying to fly through the kitchen window. He was very kind, so he tried to think of something he could do so the birds wouldn’t freeze. “The barn!” he thought. That would provide an excellent shelter.
He put on his coat and overshoes, tramped through the deepening snow to the barn, opened the doors wide, and turned on the light. But the birds didn’t come in. He then decided that food would draw them in. So he hurried back to the house for breadcrumbs which he sprinkled on the snow to make a trail into the barn. But the birds ignored the breadcrumbs and continued to flop around helplessly in the snow. He tried shooing them into the barn by walking around waving his arms. They scattered in every direction except into the warm, lighted barn. “They find me a strange and terrifying creature,” he said to himself, “And I can’t seem to think of any way to let them know they can trust me.” Puzzled and discouraged, he pondered this thought, “If only I could be a bird myself—just for a moment. Then I could lead them to safety. If only I could be a bird myself!”
Just then, the church bells began to ring, pealing the glad tidings of Christmas. The man stood silently for a minute, then sank to his knees in the snow. “Now I understand,“ he whispered as he looked up into the heavens. “Now I see why You had to become a man.”
I never hear that story that it doesn’t grip my heart. It always reminds me of the extent of love God was willing to go to, allowing Jesus to become a mirror image of Himself in the flesh for our sake. Our Psalm 91 covenant is also a powerful reminder of God’s unfathomable love when He was willing to make a protection covenant giving us a means of escape from every evil known to man.
Many parents assume their children understand important truths from God’s Word. Being raised in a Christian home with parents who know and believe the Bible isn’t enough. Children need a firm foundation in Christ before leaving home. God longs for a personal relationship with children. I have grieved many times over situations where children grew up with parents who loved God and operated in the power of His Word, but their children left home lacking basic Biblical truths. Some Christian parents fail to make sure their child has taken the first step of receiving Jesus into his heart as their personal Savior.
Our first and most important responsibility as a parent and a grandparent is our children’s and grandchildren’s spiritual well-being. Some of my warmest childhood memories are of my parents reading Matthew 1:18-2:23 and Luke 2:1-20 to us as we put up the nativity set in our house each Christmas.
If you haven’t already, I encourage you to start having conversations about the Lord with your children. Share Paul Harvey’s unique story with your children this Christmas. Discuss and explain the meaning of Christmas and how much God loves them. Let them know the significance of their decisions and that God created them for a divine purpose. Nothing is more important than that, and we will be held accountable before God, perhaps, for that, more than for any other thing. Make it a priority in this busy season to share the true meaning of Christmas. God has given us so many promises for our life to share during this season.
Children need to be taught to seek protection under the wings of the Almighty. Our Psalm 91 children’s books are to help your child or grandchild experience this powerful psalm at an early age and learn how to overcome fear. Sometimes all you need is tools put in your hand. My Own Psalm 91 Book, My Own Psalm 91 Coloring Book, Psalm 91 for Youth, and Psalm 91 for Teens are all resources to help your children.
-Peggy Joyce Ruth