When parenting disappoints
A man shared with me that for years he went to church and watched as the advent candle was lit by these beautiful families, so well-dressed and well-mannered and well-spoken. And he thought to himself: "I wish I was living in a family like that. I wish my family was so put together." What he didn't know, of course, is that beneath the surface of so many of those apparently perfect families were real life problems and challenges.
If you take nothing else from your time here this morning, I pray that you will walk away with a renewed sense that Christmas is not only for cheery-faced families or individuals with Hallmark-card lives. The God who meets us at Advent is a God who cares deeply for people with real struggles?the kind we met last week and the kind we'll meet in the Scriptures right now. The Word of the Lord speaks to us all through Luke chapter 1, verses 5?-17.
When parenting is joy and delight
"[This child] will be a joy and delight to you," the angel said to Zechariah, "and many will rejoice because of his birth." Can some of you remember hearing the good news that a child was coming to your family? Do you remember what it was like to first take that featherweight bundle in your arms and gaze into that little pink, scrunched-up face? Can you remember what it was like to hear your name spoken out from the crib? Can you remember watching that miracle take its first brave, faltering step from your hands across the carpet?
Can you remember how you feel when he hops with pleasure at opening that present, or learns that new thing? When she scores the goal or sings in church or stands up in the school play? When that child walks across the platform at graduation, or down that wedding aisle, or into the room after ...
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Dan Meyer is pastor of Christ Church of Oak Brook in Oak Brook, Illinois.