When I was a boy one of the Wyrtzen family traditions was to open our presents on Christmas morning. But before we did, all five of us kids climbed up on mom and dad’s bed, and then dad read the Christmas Story. When he finished, we could charge down the stairs to open our presents.
This year on Christmas morning. When I woke up at 6:00 my ten-year-old grandson was already up, sitting in the dark in a big chair by our wood burning stove, eyeing his wrapped presents. Patiently he waited till 7:00 when everyone else got moving. Mary and I didn’t make them wait, but when all the wrapping paper was picked up after each gift was opened, we turned to the first couple chapters in Luke and played the game I suggested in the Devo on Christmas Day. Of course our grandkids did awesome in picking out the clues Luke gave us to know who Jesus is and what He would do.
Family traditions—these are the repeated important events that we remember when we are all grown up. Luke shares one of the traditions Mary and Joseph established with their firstborn.
“Every year His parents went to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. Now when Jesus was twelve, they went up to the feast according to the Jewish custom. When the festival days were completed, His parents began their return trip, but Jesus, their boy, remained in Jerusalem. His parents had no idea.” - Luke 2:41-43
My wife, Mary, and I learned from the example of Jesus’ earthly parents the importance of establishing regular, godly worship traditions. This meant our kids went to Sunday school and then sat in church to hear me preach from the time they were babies. This was simply what we did as a family together, and our kids didn’t have an option. Now if ever there was a precocious child who could figure things out on his own, it was Jesus, yet Luke presents Jesus going up to the Passover in Jerusalem with His parents. Luke doesn’t want us to miss the fact that Jesus was raised in a strong, observant Jewish family (the Law of Moses didn’t require the women to go to Jerusalem for the feats, but Mary did).
LORD, use the insight that Luke gives us about how Mary and Joseph raised their Son with consistent, godly traditions to give parents strength to stand against the laissez-faire parenting that is so prevalent. Thanks for the special family tradition of celebrating the Lord Jesus’ birthday including the lighting of the candles on Christmas Eve and singing “Silent Night” at church and then reading the birth story on Christmas morning that we got to share with some of our kids and grandkids this Holiday.
Note: Talk about tension! Jesus is only twelve, left by Himself in Jerusalem. His parents have no idea that this has happened. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s Devo.
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