There is hope. As news cycles produce what seems a never-ending litany of bad news, a Christian dad has to be cognizant of what it means to be in the world, not of it. He cannot ignore happenings in this world, but he can maintain a healthy perspective as he keeps eyes focused on Jesus. December is a great time for dads to lead the family through Advent to help all live into the hope that is the Reason for the season, the Christ-child’s birth.
Advent, starting four Sundays before Christmas, is one of my favorite seasons in the Church. As another tough year passes by, the five candles that make up the Advent wreath help provide perspective. The first Sunday’s candle points to the HOPE that is Jesus’ second coming; the second candle represents the FAITH Christians have in the miracle birth of the Lord Jesus in Bethlehem; the third candle rekindles the JOY the shepherds experienced when they heard the angels sing on high; the fourth candle is a reminder of the PEACE introduced to the world through the Prince of Peace; and the fifth candle, lit on Christmas eve, is the Christ candle which is the Light Christians are to reflect in every discussion, decision and relationship faced in this world.
“I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the Light of life.” … He continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am He, you will indeed die in your sins." – John 8:12, 23-24. This passage serves as a reminder in what can be a dark world. The Pharisees were caught up in their own darkness of religious law. If they would have lifted their eyes to see Jesus for Who He was, His Light would have blasted through their darkness. Light always overtakes darkness. The charge is to walk in the Light no matter how dark the surroundings are. Dark times can present wonderful opportunities for dads to be physically present, emotionally engaged and spiritually leading in family. Advent is such an opportunity. The charge is to lead the way to CHRISTmas by initiating spiritual discussion in family around hope, faith, joy and peace through Advent.
Tips to lead the way to CHRISTmas:
- Initiate an Advent wreath in your home and discuss the hope, faith, joy and peace enjoyed in relationship with Jesus the Christ as you light the respective candles;
- Read Luke 1:1 – 2:20 as a family and discuss the miracles, the relationship between Mary & Elizabeth and between Jesus & John the Baptist;
- Have each family member write a personal note of love and encouragement to an extended family member or a friend.
Prayer guide: Lord, thank You for Your word and Your call to lead by the example You set for us. Too often I have let my identity be defined by who I am instead of Whose I am, in my way instead of Your Way. Forgive me. Grant me clarity in the Light that is You in my life to blast through the darkness in this world. Help me tune-in to the Reason for the season and focus on ways I can lead my family through Advent to CHRISTmas, by Your grace and for Your glory. That is the dad You call me to be, and that is the dad my kids need to see. Amen.
A faithful father leads the way through Advent to CHRISTmas in family.