Hello old friend. It’s Janet.
You may not remember me, but at some point, maybe years ago, at some conference or retreat, you kindly signed up for a weekly blog I used to write. With the abundance of excellent voices speaking into the lives of women, I didn’t carry on with that endeavor but have something cool enough to tell you that I’ll risk pestering you – especially if you love celebrating Christmas and want to savour every little bit of wonder that can be found in the biblical account!
B&H Publishing recently released another children’s book of mine entitled The Christmas Quest, which I’m happy to say, is quickly finding a smitten audience!
And though I’m ecstatic to offer this rhyming & rollicking account of the wise men’s journey that is true to textual and historical realities, I’m almost more excited about the extras that accompany it. And though the book isn’t free (you can buy it HERE, HERE or HERE), the extras are! Merry Christmas to you!
For The Little People:
There is a 7-day Activity Packet complete with thought-provoking devotionals, adventurous activities, and even a rhyming Christmas Quest Treasure Hunt that you can set up in your own home! (This was a favourite when my kiddos were little.) Just visit TheChristmasQuest.com for all this and more, including a charming Look Inside video!
For the Big People:
Since there is only so much that one can pack into 200+ words, parents have the opportunity to mine all the rich study that undergirds The Christmas Quest, in a 7-day YouVersion Bible App Devotional that launched today! And if that’s not enough, these Little & Big study resources run parallel to each other so that parents and kids are studying the same thing, enabling parents to offer rich insight to family discussions.
I’ll also be offering these 7 brief devotionals as a 7-week blog series starting today and leading up to Christmas. If that excites you, then read Week 1 below. If not, I understand – there is so much to read. But honestly, these are tiny and I think you may find them intriguing, challenging or hopeful, so I’d encourage you to at least give it a shot.
I Dare Say…
Though it’s a bold claim, I will dare to say that some of the insights in these resources might be new or fresh to you. For those who love Christmas for all it means in the grander, redemptive story, this wee book and its robust, accompanying resources are a welcome way to protect against the dreaded familiarity that causes us to gloss over magnificent events and impactful truths that would change us if we sat in them long enough.
So, take a peek. Whether you enjoy them by yourself, with your kids, with your church or with your students, I’ll be praying that these resources add a richness to your reflections this season.
Wishing you a merry AND meaningful Christmas season ahead!
WEEK 1: MORE TO THE STORY
“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:14-17 ESV
Familiarity breeds contempt. Or so the saying goes. If that proves true, that’s a particular danger as we read or teach through familiar biblical passages. Why? Because if a passage has become familiar, that’s usually because it’s a crucial event or doctrine of the faith.
When we are familiar with a text, we are tempted to skim and then possibly edit or add because another fly-by leaves it lacking panache in our minds.
However, as we launch into 7 weeks of study based on the wise men’s journey to worship the Christ child as found in Matthew’s gospel, let’s slow down, notice and celebrate the Divine fingerprints in the details of the account. Then, let’s commit ourselves afresh to protecting them – especially when it comes to teaching biblical history to our children.
This is crucial because if we take too much creative license in our biblical details, we can compromise a child’s future confidence in the inerrancy of Scripture. If a young person discovers that their childhood beliefs are riddled with inaccuracies, the feelings of disillusionment or embarrassment may foster an erosion of trust in the core doctrines they have been taught. On the other hand, honoring the details of the text by respecting the interpretive process, even in children’s literature, can pay rich dividends in the future doctrinal confidence of our young people. By doing so, we can send them into adult life knowing precisely what’s in the Bible and what isn’t, equipping them to skillfully protect themselves from cheap counterfeits.
If we want our children to be careful when they’re older with the life-giving doctrines in Romans and Ephesians, we’d better be careful with the narratives in Luke and Matthew. After all, the rest of the Bible is dedicated to either setting up or explaining the outworkings of these very events.
So, as we work through the divinely crafted details surrounding the physical entrance of God into redemptive history, let’s set aside our bath-towel shepherds and hanger-haloed angels, as adorable as they are, and discover that there truly is more to the story – Not because we find we need to add more to it, but because there is simply more to find if we choose instead to let familiarity breed contemplation.