Advent Guest Post: Remember and Teach

Devotionals > Advent Guest Post: Remember and Teach

Advent Guest Post: Remember and Teach

December 9, 2015


by Ryan Potter  The past few years my wife and I have had the same conversation with our son as we make the rounds to the multitude of grandparents’ and great grandparents’ homes for Christmas. As we pull into the driveway, we remind him to watch his manners, to make sure to say “please” and “thank you,” and not to be greedy and ask for more presents. Above all, we remind him the reason we celebrate Christmas in the first place is because we’ve already been given the greatest gift the world has ever seen. There are many reasons that we do this, but none more important than the fact that a human heart, even at three years old, is a factory of idols, and it is easy to turn our affections from the greatest gift of the incarnate Christ to the lesser gifts of Thomas, Bob, Mickey, and the like. And while those things will capture his imagination for the next few months until his birthday brings a new wave of toys, the story of Christmas is powerful enough to capture it for a lifetime. A little Baby, lying in a manger, who somehow holds together the universe by the word of his power. The Lord of the universe sent by his Father to redeem the world. That is a greater story than can ever be told by the pageantry of the holiday that reminds us of it. The Book of Deuteronomy gives us the same warning and reasoning to remember what the LORD has done:

Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children— how on the day that you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, the LORD said to me, ‘Gather the people to me, that I may let them hear my words, so that they may learn to fear me all the days that they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children so.’  (Deuteronomy 4:9-10)
In the same way that I have to remind my children what is expected of them before going to Grandma’s house for Christmas, the LORD wants Israel to remember who they are in relationship to him before entering the Promised Land. He is their God, and they are His people whom he chose, established, and rescued. The danger for Israel, and for us, is that the blessings that await them can become the trappings that ensnare them if they do not remember what the LORD has done for them. And interestingly enough, the call to Israel isn’t just to remember, but to remember and then teach. God is not content with just the first generation remembering what He has done for them, but wants each subsequent generation to be reminded of these things so they too “may learn to fear [Him] all the days that they live.” So this Advent, would you strive to remember and to teach? Remember the story of Israel, their rebellion and God’s promise, their stubbornness and need for a new heart, their longing expectation of a Messiah to save them from their sins, and the coming of the Christ as a humble Servant in a manger. Remember these things and teach them to your children. Find ways this month to draw their gaze to the Light of the world rather than the turkey on the table. Pray that they would want Christ to come again more than they would want to open the next present. Sing “Away in a Manger” more often and with more oomph than you sing “Jingle Bells.” With the many things you have to do this Christmas, don’t forget that the most important for you and your children is to remember the grand story of the coming of the Christ Child. Ryan Potter is currently serving as a pastoral resident at College Church. Previously, he served as a pastoral intern at the University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan. Ryan received his M.Div. from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. He is married with two children.]]>


Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.


To receive God Centered Life devotionals directly in your inbox, as well as other resources, enter your email address in the form at the bottom of this page and click "subscribe."


Get Pastor Josh’s Daily Devotional in your inbox.