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Introduce Your Kids to the Savior
Guests: Dennis and Barbara Rainey
From the series: Celebrating Advent (Day 3 of 5)
Air date: November 30, 2016
Bob: Many parents would love for their family to have a more spiritual / a more Christ-centered focus during the Christmas season. But there’s not a lot that points us in that direction. Here’s Barbara Rainey.
Barbara: As we were raising our children, I noticed that there was very little available, even then—and that was 20 years ago—that helped us, as a family / helped Dennis and me turn our kids’ attention to Jesus at the Christmas holiday. I wanted to do that—I wanted to help my kids appreciate Christmas for what it was really all about. And yet, I couldn’t find things that helped me engage my kids in conversations about it. I couldn’t find things, other than a Nativity scene or two, that we had that would help us turn our attention, and help us turn our kids’ attention, to the meaning of Christmas.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Wednesday, November 30th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. What can we be doing, as moms and dads, to be pointing our children in a more Christ-centered direction as we get ready to celebrate Christmas? We’re going to explore that today. Stay with us.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Wednesday edition. I’m going to have to get a new mailbox I think. I mean—
Dennis: Too many catalogues?
Bob: Yes; stop and think: “How much meaningful mail do you get in a year these days? I go out to the mailbox every day to see what’s in the mailbox. How many days is it just junk?”
Barbara: Most of the days.
Bob: Most days it’s just junk mail. Every once in a while, there’s a lovely letter from FamilyLife—so we have that / we always get that—and open that first thing; but most of the time, it’s just junk.
Well, you get to Christmastime—
Dennis: I just wrote you a note, Bob—I just thanked you. You should be getting it here pretty soon.
Bob: Well, I’ll keep my eyes open for it. Thank you. [Laughter]
Barbara: Yes; thank you notes are nice to get.
Dennis: A handwritten note is really valuable today.
Bob: Those are nice and rare.
So, now, at Christmastime, there is not enough room in the mailbox for all of the catalogues / for all of the—just all of the stuff / all of the junk that everybody wants us to buy. I’m just telling them, “Don’t send them to me anymore, because I’m not buying your stuff; okay?” I’m just trying to tell them—
Barbara: They don’t believe it, though.
Bob: I guess they don’t; no.
Dennis: Barbara joins us on FamilyLife Today. Welcome back, Sweetheart.
Barbara: Thank you.
Dennis: She had me actually go to the garbage the other day, Bob, and fish out of the garbage a magazine that she said captured really what is the message / what has become the message of Christmas this season.
Barbara: I did; because I didn’t want the magazine / didn’t need it—
—so I pitched it. Then I started thinking about the messages that that magazine was communicating to me at Christmas. This one came in the mail the other day. On the cover, it says, “385 Ways to Dazzle Family and Friends.” [Laughter] I thought, “Well, first of all, who has time for 385 ways, number one; and secondly, is it really about dazzling your family and friends?” I just thought: “Oh my gosh! We have really—we have really changed.”
Bob: This is all about Christmas—you’re supposed to do all of this—
Barbara: This whole catalogue—
Dennis: It’s a new advent—385 steps / 385 ways—[Laughter]
Bob: So, did you read any of them?
Barbara: Well, I flipped through it; and of course, it’s multiple choice—you don’t have to do all 385. They want you to have lots of options.
Bob: That’s a good thing; yes.
Barbara: One of them said, “Take a bow as you reveal the spectacular cake.” Another one said, “Show them you love them by giving one of these handmade gifts to everyone on your list.” [Laughter] I’m thinking, “Even if you just chose one of those, it’s overwhelming, all by itself.”
Bob: I can do the bow; but I’m just thinking, “My friends and family are not going to be dazzled when I take a bow.”
Barbara: No; no. [Laughter]
Dennis: It is all the wrong message, though.
Barbara: Yes; it is.
Dennis: What we want to do is—I don’t know that we want to dazzle. I think we want to refocus—a little bit like a camera—bring back the focus to Christmas and what it’s all about and help families celebrate Jesus Christ.
Barbara: Actually, I think dazzle might be a good word. I think what we want is—we want to be dazzled by the incarnation—the fact that Jesus actually came to the planet to rescue us when we didn’t deserve it / we didn’t even know that we needed it. And yet, the Father sent Him, and He willingly obeyed and came. I think that, in and of itself, is something to be dazzled by.
It’s not about us being the focus—us being the center of attention / us being the one who’s wowing people—we need to be wowed by the Christmas story and what Jesus came to do for us.
Dennis: And if we don’t lead it—if parents don’t lead it, men/women, moms/dads, grandmas and grandpas—don’t lead out in re-establishing the reason for Christmas and what it ought to be about, the world will send us another message.
Bob: Yes; in fact, the message is pretty clear at Christmastime. Very little of it is about the spiritual significance of the holiday.
Barbara: That’s right.
Bob: Most of it’s about the commercial significance of the holiday.
Barbara: Yes; it is. All you have to do is go into any store that carries a lot of Christmas decorations—ornaments, or things you can put on your tree, or things you can put up around your house—and if you look hard, you will find very, very little about Jesus—about His coming to earth / about the Christmas story. You’ll find plenty of things—a plethora of things—about Santa and reindeer, and elf on a shelf, and on, and on, and on it goes. The volume of things associated with Christmas today is overwhelmingly not about the Christmas story.
Bob: This is actually what got you started, a few years back, thinking, “I want to start creating things that people can put in their home that will refocus them, at Christmastime, on the reason we’re celebrating Christmas.”
Barbara: As we were raising our children, I noticed that there was very little available even then—and that was 20 years ago—that helped us, as a family / helped Dennis and me turn our kids’ attention to Jesus at the Christmas holiday. I wanted to do that—I wanted to help my kids appreciate Christmas for what it was really all about. And yet, I couldn’t find things that helped me engage my kids in conversations about it. I couldn’t find things, other than a Nativity scene or two, that we had that would help us turn our attention, and help us turn our kids’ attention, to the meaning of Christmas.
Dennis: And I was glad she finally got a chance to put some feet under some ideas she had had—that she’d been talking about, Bob, for probably 25 years as we raised our kids.
She would talk about this repeatedly: “Why doesn’t someone create meaningful objects that call us to worship, that are well done, and have our Christmas trees and our decor in our homes be about Jesus Christ, in a contemporary way that will pass on the truth about Jesus Christ to the next generation?”
What she did—she began to do a study of the names of Christ that are mentioned in Scripture. You know, you don’t really pause and take a step back and think, “How important a name is,” but I just want to read what the Apostle Paul says in Philippians, Chapter 2 [verse 9]—he says, “Therefore God has highly exalted Him,”—that is Christ—“and has bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven, and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Christmas is about the incarnation of the One, whose name—someday, every knee will bow—not just a few, but every knee will bow. What Barbara did—because she’s both an artist and a student of the Bible—she began to set out to create a line of ornaments, calling them Adorenaments®, after the song, O Come Let Us Adore Him. She created the Christmas names from Luke, Chapter 2 and Isaiah. She created His royal names from the Psalms and from Revelation. She created His Savior names in the form of crosses. All of these were designed to be durable and to be passed on to the next generation to declare who Jesus is.
This year, she’s created globes. They’re globes that declare four names of Christ around Advent—His first coming—that help families, I think, regain their focus back on why we celebrate Christmas.
Bob: These globes are round ornaments. We think of ornaments as globes most often, but this is the first year you’ve done anything with a round shape.
Barbara: Right. And they’re literally globes—that have the continents of the earth on them; and then written, on the globe, is a name of Christ: “Jesus is the Light of the World,” or “Jesus is the Messenger”; and then there’s also a verse on the globe, too, to help us understand why He came to our planet.
Bob: And is this all you have on your tree at home—are these ornaments?
Barbara: It is. I have some small balls that are plain, that don’t have anything on them. All of our kids are out of the nest. When they left, we boxed up all their ornaments that they collected, when they were growing up, and gave them to the kids. If we still had our children at home, we would probably have a mix of different kinds of things, plus all of the Adorenaments on our tree. Since it’s just Dennis and me now, that’s what we have on our tree—is just the names of Christ.
Bob: Does your home feel different because your tree has these ornaments on them rather than a mixture?
Barbara: I don’t know if it feels different, but I like looking at it. Our daughter-in-law, Marsha Kay, told me last year, at Christmas, that she puts up a little bit smaller tree in their living room—it doesn’t have a really high ceiling—so it’s probably just an average six-foot tree. She only puts the Adorenaments on there that I’ve given her through the years. She said: “I love to go in that living room and sit there, all by myself, and just stare at that tree. I call it my Jesus tree.” She said, “It helps me remember what Christmas is about.”
They put up another tree in their main room, where their TV is, and where they gather as a family—it’s a larger room. That’s the tree that the kids decorate—that’s where they put their school ornaments, and the ones they make, and the ones they’ve collected. That’s more of an all-purpose tree.
But I just love the way she described it—she called it her Jesus tree. I just thought: “That’s really exactly what it is.
“It’s having a place, at Christmas, that proclaims who He is and what He came to do. That reminds us, as a family / those of us who live in that house—or people who come to visit—reminds us what the holiday is all about.”
Dennis: And I think many times we underestimate the power of a name.
Dennis: If you think how the first coming of Christ—His first advent—was described when the angel of the Lord appeared to Mary, announcing that she was going to have a baby, and told her what to call Him. Let me just read this from Luke, Chapter 1: “The angel said to Mary, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.’” And he goes on to promise that Jesus would save the people from their sins.
The name, Jesus, actually means “God saves.” So the incarnation is God’s statement to humanity, “I’m finally going to bring to pass that which I promised, all the way back to Genesis, Chapter 3, when Adam and Eve sinned,” and He promised that there would be a Redeemer.
Bob: Well, and last year, you took that name, Jesus, and made ornaments in five languages.
Barbara: Five different languages.
Bob: And it was just the name of Jesus in the alphabet and the language of—I think it was Spanish; it was Russian; Mandarin—
Barbara: Chinese Mandarin.
Barbara: Hebrew and Arabic.
Bob: And that’s the declaration that “God saves.”
When you talk about other names of Jesus, you’re talking about titles like “Son of the Most High,” which the angel mentioned to Mary.
Bob: So each year, you’ve been doing different titles. In that sense, they are names / they’re descriptors of who Jesus is.
Barbara: Correct; yes. And every one of the names that’s given to Jesus / that we read about in the Bible helps us understand more of who He is / more of what He came to do for us.
You know, we’re so used to, as people, having one or maybe two names, or three names if you have a middle name. We think in really small terms when it comes to names for people. But when you think about the fact that Jesus has, as some scholars say, as many as 300 names or titles given to Him in the Bible, it tells us that He is much, much different than we are. There is much to learn about Him and much to worship.
As we learn what these different names are—and then learn what they mean and learn why they’re important—for instance, the verse we know so well at Christmas from Isaiah: “He shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace”—each one of those four names that were prophesied about Christ tell us something different about His character / tell us something different about who He is and what He can do for us.
Just think about the title, Prince of Peace. How badly do we need peace in our world? We need it every year. Every year, at Christmas, we all feel the need for peace—peace in our families, peace in our hearts, peace between people groups, between nations—and Jesus came to give us that peace. He came to be the Prince of Peace.
When we understand more about His names, we understand more about Him. Therefore, we want to worship Him for all that He is to us and for us.
Dennis: And I love the attention to detail that Barbara has created here around these names. The one she’s talking about here—Prince of Peace—you can see that, Bob, it’s resting on a bed of straw, which is representative of the humble circumstances of Jesus being born in a manger.
As you were talking about Prince of Peace, Barbara—yes, we need it for the world—but you also mentioned there are a lot of homes that need peace this Christmas season. It may be that a family pulls this out and reads what you’ve written about what it means that Jesus was the Prince of Peace—that He personally came to give us peace with God—but also peace with one another.
I think families today need to resolve issues / need to resolve conflict. It may be that, as you pull this Adorenament out of the package and hang it on your tree, maybe you and your children can pray: “Lord, would the Prince of Peace come to our family this Christmas season? Would You heal some of the conflict, the lack of peace, the hurt, the anger? And would You turn our home into a place where the Savior, not only visits, but where He reigns as the Prince of Peace?”
Barbara: And there isn’t a family anywhere that doesn’t need that. Every family needs help in conflict resolution, and ever family needs peace. That would be a great application for any family to pray this year at Christmas.
Bob: You have written something about pretty much each of these ornaments you’ve created over the years; right?—
Bob: —whether it’s a devotional or some kind of a thought / an essay. Your desire is that the ornament would trigger deeper thinking about the name. What you’ve written is designed to help prod us in that direction as well.
Barbara: Yes; it is. The idea is—and these can be used in all kinds of different ways—people are infinitely creative. But one of the ideas would be to hang an ornament—and we’re talking, right now, mostly about His Christmas names, which is the first set—one idea is to hang one ornament each day for a week.
You could decorate your tree before or after Thanksgiving like you normally do; and then, get these names and hang them once each day, for the week leading up to Christmas, to help prepare your hearts to worship and to welcome Him on Christmas morning.
A way to do that is—each set comes with this small book—so you could hang the ornament on the tree. Then somebody in the family reads the short story. It takes a couple of minutes, at the most, to read it. It helps us understand who Jesus is with this name that you’re hanging on the tree.
Yes. I’m looking at the name, Emmanuel, which you write about in your book here—another one of the Christmas names, from Matthew, Chapter 1:23
—it says, “Behold, a virgin shall be with child and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel.” Well, that name means “God with us.” He’s ever-present with us. You go on to talk about how Jesus, not only came in terms of the incarnation to planet earth; but again, He came to take up residence in each person’s life.
I think a lot of parents are wondering, “How do I share my faith in Christ with my kids?” Well, these Adorenaments give you a way to introduce your child to the One who is called the Savior; the One who is Emmanuel; the One who is the Prince of Peace. You actually have, in the back of this booklet around the Christmas names, a prayer that a child can pray to commit his life, or her life, to Jesus Christ.
Barbara: We have a really good friend who actually works here in our office. The year these ornaments came out, he did exactly what we’re talking about. They hung the ornaments on the tree, one by one, and read the stories that accompanied each name. He told us that year that one of the names triggered some questions in his son’s heart. His son started asking his dad: “So, what about this? What does that mean about me?” And his dad answered his questions. It was the right time for his son to want to receive Christ.
This man—this good friend of ours—had the great privilege of leading his son to Christ as a result of focusing on the names of Christ at Christmas.
I think that’s what God is calling all of us to do. He’s calling all of us to make decisions. He’s calling all of us to settle things and make things right with Him. Christmas is a wonderful time to do that, because we’re naturally thinking about Jesus being born in Bethlehem. It’s a perfect opportunity for moms and dads to help your kids understand what a decision for Christ looks like and why that’s the most important decision they’ll ever make.
Dennis: As parents, we are commanded, back in Deuteronomy, Chapter 6, to pass on our faith / our love for Christ to our children, and to talk of it when we rise up, when we go by the way, when we lie down. We’re to be talking to our children; in essence, training them in the Bible and about who God is.
It’s really a foreshadowing of the Great Commission, a command that Jesus gave over in Matthew 28:19
and 20, where He commanded us to make disciples, to teach them to obey all that He has commanded us.
You and I, as parents, are commanded to instruct our children in the ways of God from His Word. That can come about around the holiday of Christmas; which frankly, just sets you up, as a parent, to be able to talk about: “Why do we celebrate this season? Why is it so important?” “Well, it’s about Jesus Christ, who wasn’t just another man. He is the Savior / He is the Prince of Peace,” and to use this holiday as the great privilege and opportunity to introduce your children to that Savior.
Bob: At this point, you have created 30 different ornament designs. The ones for this year are the globes we’ve talked about. In past years, they’ve been different designs / different shapes.
If somebody goes to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com, they can actually see all 30 of the ornaments you’ve created and order whatever ornaments they’d like to—have their tree covered with names of Christ—all over the tree.
Again, go to FamilyLifeToday.com to see the ornaments Barbara has created, including the new set for this year—His advent names—the four globes that talk about Jesus as the Son, the Messenger, the Word, and the Light. The website is FamilyLifeToday.com; or you can call to order any of the Adorenaments at 1-800-FL-TODAY—1-800-358-6329—that’s 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word “TODAY.”
By the way, in our FamilyLife app, we’re including devotionals and ideas for celebrating the Advent season—ways that you can engage others in conversation about Christ during the Advent season.
If you don’t currently have the FamilyLife app, it’s free. Go to your app store, and you can download it. Look for this Advent content that we’re starting to include in the app. Again, the app is free; and you can download it when you go to your app store.
It was 31 years ago today that Tim and Angela Childress became husband and wife. Tim and Angela live here in Little Rock. They are associate staff, here at FamilyLife. We want to say, “Congratulations!” to the Childresses today as they celebrate their 31st wedding anniversary.
And “Congratulations!” to you, as well, if it’s your wedding anniversary. Anniversaries matter. Here, at FamilyLife, we’ve been celebrating our 40th anniversary, all year long; and we’ve been doing it by reflecting on how God has used this ministry in the lives of so many couples, who are still celebrating anniversaries because of how God worked through FamilyLife to strengthen their marriage.
That’s what you’re supporting when you support this ministry—you’re helping to strengthen marriages and families.
You’re helping couples to thrive and families to flourish. We want to say, “Thank you for your partnership with us, and your investment in the tens of thousands of couples and families we’re talking to every day on this program, and who we’re reaching through our website, our events, and our resources.”
If you can help with a donation today, we’d love to say, “Thank you,” by sending you a resource that you can use with your children during the Christmas season. These are ornaments that are designed for preschool and early elementary-aged children. They’re colorful, and they’re great for kids to understand more about who Jesus is at Christmastime. We’ll send you “The Twelve Names of Christmas” ornament set when you make a donation today. Go to FamilyLifeToday.com to donate online; or call 1-800-FL-TODAY to make your donation; or you can request “The Twelve Names of Christmas” when you mail your donation to FamilyLife Today at PO Box 7111, Little Rock, AR; our zip code is 72223.
Now, tomorrow, we’re going to talk more about some of the names the Bible uses for Jesus and see what we can learn about who He is by understanding His names. Hope you can tune in for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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