Michael “Hudson” Bradshaw
“Just as an artist who paints pictures and portraits exercises great care in his work, so each of you, mothers and fathers, must be attentive to these wonderful images [your children]. Each day, a painter adds what is necessary to the picture. Sculptors do the same, removing excess stone and adding what is lacking. You should do the same: as makers of images, devote all your time to the task of fashioning wonderful images for God. Remove the excess; add what is lacking. Each day, examine the images closely. Cultivate the natural excellence that each one has, removing what is by nature inferior….teach them to be sober, vigilant, watchful in prayer, and to place everything that is said and done under the sign of the cross.”
—John Chrysostom (c. 347–407), On Vainglory and the Education of Children, 22:
HT: Tony Reinke
“We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks, for your name is near.” Psalm 75:1
“Never let us neglect thanksgiving…As the smiling flowers gratefully reflect in their lovely colours the various constituents of the solar ray, so should gratitude spring up in our hearts after the smiles of God’s providence….We should praise God again and again. Stinted gratitude is ingratitude. For infinite goodness there should be measureless thanks. Faith promises redoubled praise for greatly needed and signal deliverances. For that thy name is near thy wondrous works declare. God is at hand to answer and do wonders—adore we then the present Deity. We sing not of a hidden God, who sleeps and leaves the church to her fate, but of one who ever in our darkest days is most near, a very present help in trouble. “Near is his name.” Glory be unto the Lord, whose perpetual deeds of grace and majesty are the sure tokens of his being with us always, even unto the ends of the world.” Charles Spurgoen, Treasury of David
Even though we’re all busy preparing for Thanksgiving in two days, December 1 is only a week away. Since so many of you have asked, I’m re-posting some advent calendar ideas from last year. Apparently both the links were broken, but they’ve been fixed below. Enjoy!
A few years ago, Mom bought each of our families a wooden advent calendar. My children love to open a new door each day to find a piece of candy and a Scripture about the Christmas story. Steve reads the verses aloud while the kids listen attentively, their mouths full of chocolate and nougat.
In the past, I’ve used this simple Christmas countdown and references. This year, now that Jack’s older, I’m adapting this schedule of longer readings that begin with the Old Testament prophecies. As the days march toward Christmas, I want my kids to connect, in some small way, to the centuries of longing for the Messiah.
I’ve also pulled Nancy Guthrie’s Come Thou Long Expected Jesus off the bookshelf and placed it in my basket of quiet time stuff. I didn’t mark it up, as I do most of my books, so I can enjoy the daily readings afresh each year.
For my children, and for myself, I don’t want “the busyness of [the Christmas season]…to crowd out a quiet anticipation of the wonder of incarnation.” I want the glories of God become man to illuminate and outshine all our Christmas joys.