Andrew Hughes | Category: Resources
I recently contacted Barbara Reaoch, mother of Pastor Ben, and asked whether she would be able to answer a few questions about her family devotional, Why Christmas?, for the Advent season and she graciously took time to answer these questions below.
If you are looking for a good family devotional resource this Christmas, consider purchasing Why Christmas?
The publisher describes the book in the following way:
Why do we celebrate Christmas? Most children do not know the true answer to that question or why God sent Jesus to live on earth. Why Christmas? is a helpful daily devotional with Scripture reading, memory verse, Christmas carol and questions to direct your child’s heart towards God. The readings, which begin on the first day of December, are Biblical, short, and effective. Colorful illustrations illuminate the events of the incarnation. This book will provide parents with the assistance they desire for leading their child to the Christ of Christmas.
AH: What made you decide to write a Christmas devotional for families?
BR: Why Christmas? was written for Ben and Stacy [Reaoch] to use with their family. Ron and I were living in South Africa and feeling the effects of living 10,000 miles away from our loved ones. I wondered how I could influence my dear grandchildren to know and love our great God when I lived so far away. Then it came to me, I could write a short devotion to focus on the wonder of the Incarnation that could be used every day leading up to Christmas. It was a surprise to me that other people wanted to use Why Christmas? But I think parents and grandparents are looking for ways to combat the "Christmas culture" of our day and instill the truth of Christ in their children.
AH: Is there a particular age range for which this devotional is intended?
BR: Families with wide age ranges of children use Why Christmas? successfully. All children need to hear the Scripture read to them and can begin to find joy in this daily discipline. A child's understanding of truth will layer through the years. Our 18 month old grandson had an attention span for just a couple of paragraphs last year but this year he listens longer and understands more. Our 10 year old granddaughter has all the scripture memory verses in her heart and understands how prophecy is part of the advent story. This is why coming back to the same Scripture year after year is so beneficial.
AH: What are the unique features of this particular Christmas devotional?
BR: It is unique to have material that engages a child's interest and is also of doctrinal substance. We want our children to know the real reason we celebrate Christmas. It is the perfect time to saturate them with the truth of Jesus's love. He left the glories of heaven and became a baby. He lived for us and died for us that we might have the greatest gift of all - life forever with God. The material engages a child's mind and heart. The colorful illustrations and joyful Christmas hymns are highlights for each day. Parents appreciate the 3 questions that take the biblical truth from a child's mind to his heart.
AH: What is the best way for families to go about using this resource?
BR: The format is simple and easy to use for every busy family. Plan a 15 minute time each day leading up to Christmas. I know of families that use this resource when they are together for breakfast or dinner. Others have a time of family worship first thing in the morning or before bed. Using Why Christmas? will help parents and children discover the delight of the daily discipline of family worship.
AH: Why do you think devotional times together as a family are Important?
BR: Parents are commissioned by God with the responsibility of the spiritual training of their children. It is an awesome responsibility but most of us feel inadequate for the task. Many of us didn't have role models and most don't have a grasp of biblical doctrine, so we approach the thought of family worship with uncertainty. And yet parents are the number one influencers of their children and we need to step up to this responsibility. During the brief time children are in our home it is a discipline of eternal value to read Scripture, talk about God and His plan for the world through Christ and pray together. It doesn't take long but the benefit is long lasting. It doesn't take much effort but it will teach your child how to prioritize life. It will sometimes feel rote but the Gospel transforms. It will take perseverance but God's Word will be a shield of protection around your child's heart and mind. It will take faith in God can to know that He will use this time to impact the generations yet to be born in your family. Why not be the role model your children need so one day they will know how to lead your grandchildren in the cause of Christ?
About the Author of Why Christmas?
Barbara Reaoch is Bible Study Fellowship International's Director of Children's Programs. For nearly twenty years, she taught women's BSF classes in the US and South Africa. Barbara also worked at the Rafiki Girl's Center is South Africa, teaching the Bible and life skills to young women. She has been married to Ron for over forty years; they have three grown children and four grandchildren.
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