The young family spent an exciting week-end vacation in a place best known for its adult entertainment and gambling establishments. Promoters assured them that it was a ‘family friendly’ city with lots of places suitable for kids to enjoy. And, indeed this was true. Before the family left their vacation spot, however, the seven year old remarked to her mother, “Mom, this is no place for kids!” No one had invited her and her sister to attend the shows or play the slots. But she could not avoid the multiple visual cues on signs that were everywhere. And the signage was PG13 at best!
If we encouraged an honest answer, could we invite our children to evaluate our home for its visual clues and determine if it’s a suitable place for kids? In Deuteronomy 6:9, Moses directed God’s people to write His commands “on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Might we expand this to include what is displayed throughout our home and what is stored in our cupboards and closets? How God-honoring is the environment that we provide for our children?
Could we go further to consider the sounds that are characteristic of our home? – the smells? – the overall, environmental message that our home gives not only to those who live in it day in and day out, but to those who visit from time to time? Does our home reflect more orderliness than chaos? Would we be embarrassed if the literal, human Person of Jesus rang the doorbell and asked to come in?
The best time to develop a God-honoring environment for any home is in the early days, even before there are children. Families with children old enough to participate benefit from considering these things, too. Take courage and ask your kids for their ideas about what a God-honoring home would look like. Everyone benefits when together they devise ways to create an environment that showcases the presence of God. For God is in our home, whether it is evident to the eye or not.
A home that Jesus would enjoy would certainly be full of color, music, and evidences of creativity. He might find a ‘worship center’ or a corner of a room where anyone could go to be quiet and enjoy, in a special way, His presence. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if ‘time outs’ took on a different meaning and turned from punishment to worship?
Some families set an extra place at the table, acknowledging that Jesus is their invisible guest. “Be present at our table, Lord; be here and everywhere adored. “ This could well be the beginning of their family grace before eating. Many kneel beside their beds at night with rituals whose memories they carry into adult life. “Jesus, Tender Shepherd, hear us; bless your little lambs tonight.” Most of us remember favorite pictures portraying Jesus as a Good Shepherd, or Jesus surrounded by little children.
Blessed is the home where all family members join together in creating an environment that showcases the love of a Heavenly Father. A home that welcomes all whom the Father invites in and gladly shares the bounty He provides with others. May we take seriously what we do with the youngsters around us today. They are the ones who will carry what they learn inside our walls into the lives and homes they establish in just a few years from now.
May the grace of Christ our Savior and the Father’s boundless love,
with the Holy Spirit’s favor, rest upon us from above.
Thus may we abide in union with each other and the Lord,
and possess, in sweet communion, joys which earth cannot afford.
by John Newton
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