I had the awesome opportunity to kick off our new series and I had a blast. Feel free to catch the last half below. Keep in mind that some content may not be suitable for children. Enjoy!
‘TIS THE SEASON TO NOT PUT THE HOLIDAYS ON MOM
Christmas is often a time of year when men take vacation days from their job. We work hard and it’s refreshing to take a break, but we’ve got to be careful not to shove the holiday responsibilities on Mom. There is NEVER a vacation from parenting! Don’t neglect your wife by spending all of your time on the couch watching football, taking naps and eating too many carbs. And don’t place all of your attention and affection on the kids. One of the greatest gifts a Dad can give his children is loving their mother. Find ways to help around the kitchen, keep the house clean, and put up decorations. Encourage your kids to get involved and serve too so they see the effort behind your affection for their Mom. Take them shopping to get her gifts and plan special holiday dates with her that they hear.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the needs of our children. They are growing so fast and their needs change so often. Don’t forget Mom. It’s important for her to look nice, feel good about themselves, and feel their femininity celebrated! Remember, she usually spends more time at home and with the children so she needs that respect from them. They will never admire a woman who you ignore. Let them see how important she is to you. Teach your boys how to love a woman faithfully and show your girls how they should be pursued honorably. Loving their mother is one of the best gifts you can ever give to your kids.
‘TIS THE SEASON TO GIVE REPENTANCE AND NOT GIFTS
It’s easy to ignore problems during the holidays. We experience a high amount of stress and our families create drama which will fuel years of emotional baggage into a few snide words. Over time we begin to expect it, and it becomes far too easy to ignore our faults and excuse our lack of understanding in light of our “victimized” situations.
Relationships are messy. Family relationships can be disastrous. Repentance is the only response which can bring about mending.
While buckling my oldest daughter, Norah (2 yrs. old), into her car seat yesterday, she grabbed my hair and pulled with all her might. I wasn’t expecting such exertion behind her little hands and it took me off guard. I reacted. My voiced raised, my eyes grew dark and I lashed out with a forceful word to “STOP!” Her face dropped immediately and I saw that I had crushed her spirit.
The bully in me ran like a little school girl and my anger subsided.
At this point, it would have been easy for me to just ignore my sin and finish the task of securing her into her seat. My wife wasn’t around and there was no one present to hold me accountable. My daughter is only two and she would have soon forgotten anyways. Our children are quick to forgive. I could have let the moment pass and chosen to try to not let it happen again. But, instead I repented.
I exposed my fault and requested forgiveness. Norah gently took her hand, patted me on the head where she had pulled, then asked, “Awww… Daddy, you okay?”
You see, our children’s hearts are open towards us and our words hold intensity. If we are not careful we can crush their tenderness and replace their teachability with tension.
We should never believe that yelling and intimidating our kids is a form of strength or discipline. We should respond to our kids’ misbehavior with a gentleness that is firm and avoid parenting out of emotion. Show your family this Christmas what it looks like for a person to struggle through their own mistakes. We can never expect our kids to wrestle with their sin until we learn to wrestle with our own first!
‘TIS THE SEASON TO GIVE SECURITY AND NOT JUST GIFTS
My oldest daughter, Norah (2 yrs. old), has a new place to retreat and play. It’s her bedroom closet. She will spend lengthy periods of time hiding away from the world while embracing imagination and solitude. If you’re lucky, she will welcome you into her petite nook in life.
The other day I had this privilege as she rallied up enthusiasm, gripped my finger and lured me in to her bedroom closet all the while asking, “Daddy, go play? Daddy, go play?” She wasn’t really asking for an answer. She had only one response in mind.
I curled up my legs, squeezed in my belly and hugged against the wall barely allowing the door to close behind us. She opened my eyes to more than just silly toddler amusement. It was place of wonder. We feasted on mounds of plastic peas (that were never digested), sang beautiful melodies (that contained nonsense lyrics) and took naps every 5 minutes (that provided no rest). It was mystical. Lions were kind and performed doctor obligations healing all the other animals. Frogs were funny and danced brilliantly. Space was our enemy and time our foe, and the door was certainly never to opened.
More importantly, however, I learned how comforting it was for the world to be small and Daddy to be close.
There is no better time than Christmas to curl up next to your kids, open your imagination and let out some fun activities. It’s important for their growth to feel safe and create lasting memories. Jesus constantly practiced solitude with His Daddy, we should encourage our kids to do the same. Plan your time with the family to ensure they feel loved and looked after. Fight for their attention. Plan a special daddy-date with your daughter or some guy time with your son. Avoid the same old thickheaded tendency of sitting on the couch watching football and eating carbs. Don’t drop the ball and get stressed by the money being spent on presents and miss another opportunity to lovingly lead your family. Make sure that your kids are cared for and secure because daddy is close this Christmas.
‘TIS THE SEASON TO GIVE EXPERIENCES AND NOT JUST GIFTS
This time every year it is easy for dads to allow the stress of the holidays to keep us from experiencing some of the most sacred moments our families can offer. Our children grow quickly and if we do not labor to connect with and bless our kids, everyone suffers and we set in motion generations of missed opportunity. The financial pressure that is the tag of our consumerist seasons can influence us to be grumpy and short fused. If we are not careful, we will lose out on the joy of time together. It is our responsibility to carve out moments that are fun and point our kids to Jesus.
When I think back on my own childhood, I do not measure it in gifts but in experience. Sometimes the best thing for our children are intentional drives throughout neighborhoods searching for christmas lights, decorating their rooms with trees and snowflakes, sitting down to watch a movie, helping Mom in the kitchen, singing songs, reading new stories, or finding unexpected ways to give generously to others.
Allow the holidays to be opportunities of building teachable moments in your home and nurture growth. Guard your family from the selfish attitudes that creep in like a Grinch and apologize for being lazy, thoughtless, grumpy, or just dumping the holidays on Mom.
Christmas should be a seasonal response to a God who was humble and served His children. Dads, take the time to serve your family this year.