Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Good News and Great Joy

I've heard that some homeschool moms let their kids have the whole month of December off to focus on the joy of Christmas.

Not this mean old mom.

Our study of the Old Testament continued this month with all kinds of activities. We worked hard one Friday afternoon preparing challah bread to celebrate a Sabbath dinner.

The Sabbath dinner, we discovered, is a beautiful celebration and peaceful experience. A long and busy week ends at sundown as the candles are lit, a blessing is said over each child, and the family enjoys a relaxing meal together.

I don't know if my kids are learning anything, but I can now truly appreciate the blessing Shabbat Shalom, Sabbath Peace.

We have also been deep in the study of the creation of the Tabernacle and priesthood in Exodus.

I realize it's not very "Christmasy." While many families put their regular course of study aside in December to bask in the soft glow of the nativity stable, we have been standing at the foot of Mt. Sinai with the terrified Israelites as they encounter a fearfully holy God from a distance.

Not very "Christmasy" at first glance but, to me, studying the sacredness of the tabernacle, the law, the priesthood, and even the sacrifices and the blood that must have been everywhere gives all that much more significance to the child in the manger.

When the angel broke through the ordinary night to announce good news to the shepherds, it was really, really, really good news. Not just a sweet baby, but the Holy God come to bridge the gap that we never could. He would be the Great High Priest and the Lamb whose blood would be poured out in the Ultimate Sacrifice.

The more we study the requirements for approaching a holy God the more I think that when the angel said, "I bring good news," it may have been a cosmic understatement.

But when I go the grocery store to pick out a Christmas card and find only three of the 60 or so cards labeled with crosses to alert me to the fact that they mention God, it seems like much of humanity has responded to the heavenly announcement by saying, "Gee thanks, but we don't need quite that much good news. We're quite happy with warm Christmas blessings and some eggnog thankyouverymuch."

But I am so thankful for all that Christmas is (and trying to remind myself to be thankful while standing in line at Walmart again...).

Merry Christmas.


stephanie said...

ummm... do you think you can teach my kids too? your home offers far more enriching experiences. not to mention a very, very wise mom.

Sarah said...

Friend, I love it! I love your blog and your spunk filled words. I know without a doubt that your kids are blessed beyond measure.

And can you PLEASE tell me how to follow this blog and add it to my list of must reads.

Happy day,