Lord, Teach Us to Number Our Days

As the calendar turns to December and the liturgical calendar turns to Advent, the lives of families of all shapes and sizes become increasingly busy. From midweek services to athletic practices and games to Christmas concerts, programs, and parties.

If there is one activity that both the Scriptures and research shows is more important than all the others, it would be parents teaching the faith to children in the home. My encouragement for every home would be that during this Advent season, take time for Advent devotions. Moses prayed to the Lord to teach him how to order his days. The best way for families to manage their time is by spending some of that precious capital in God’s Word.

Rev. Mark Kiessling, director of LCMS Youth Ministry, notes that one of the key factors in children remaining active in LCMS congregations is that they are comfortable talking about their faith with their parents. The Search Institute’s 40 Development Assets that are vital for young people’s growth demonstrate the importance of parents and the home in preparation for lives of service. When parents take time to intentionally teach children God’s Word and how to pray in the home they are passing on to their children God’s great treasures.

There are lots of great resources for Advent Devotions that are available. If you don’t have something already, Lutheran Hour Ministries provides an Advent devotion that you can read online daily or print out by clicking here. You don’t have to be a pastor or a teacher to be able to lead family devotions. Getting a devotional and taking the time is where it begins. But as I write this, I also know that many of the people who read this are grandparents or great grandparents. So what can you do? Send the link to your children and grandchildren and encourage them in their role to tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord.

The Missouri District leadership is working to provide encouragement, training and support for congregations in all settings for strengthening families. Ultimately, God gives the responsibility of teaching the faith to children primarily to parents. This can be done just as intentionally by families in smaller congregations with few resources as by families in large congregations.

The reason that Dr. Luther developed the Small Catechism was to assist in teaching the faith in the home. As children and families are pulled in so many different directions, we need a reformation that takes place in the home. Providing children with God’s Word is far more important than the newest gaming system or sneakers. Teaching the faith in the home has little or no cost, but does require the commitment of the parents and care givers to make it a priority. My prayer is that all of our families would have Christ at the center of their homes. During this Advent season, I hope that you will take a step by having devotions as the Lord teaches you to number your days aright.

Fraternally in Christ,

President Lee Hagan

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