My friend Jerry Owen writes:
What does a beefed up version of the 5th Commandment have to do with the coming of Christ? More than we might think. God prepares us for the coming of his Son by telling us to get right with our own children. He tells us to prepare our hearts to love the Father who gives life to the Son by turning our hearts to our fathers who gave us life. We fail to see these connections because we think it’s easy to run if you never walk, which is a lie: “If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 Jn. 4:20). How much more is this true if anyone hates his father? Or if anyone anyone hates his son? He cannot love the Father or the Son. This is not said to throw your faith into a tailspin. In his juxtaposing brilliance, John tells us that one must drive the other out. If you love the Father, love your father. If you love the Son, love your son. If you are a Christian who believes Jesus is God, this is where you are going anyway, so you might as well come along and have a merry Christmas.
Fathers, turn your hearts to your children. They need a dad who loves in word and deed, and not a sugar daddy who simply fills the Christmas tree with presents. Like Jesus, they need to hear you are well pleased with them. If they are young, they need a fun-filled Christmas that includes lots of time together. Christmas is the time when the eternal God took on flesh and became a man. We shouldn’t shy away from presents, parties, lights, seasonal ale, and fudge, but we should make we are giving all of this along with ourselves to our children (more or less ale, age depending). Enjoy it together. If your kids are older, they need your friendship, advice, and support.
God blesses obedience. We always run cost-benefit scenarios without this in mind. “If I turn my heart to my dad/mom/son/daughter, they will simply continue to x/y/z and walk all over me.” Leaving that aside, what will God do? Will he take your cause up? Will he use you to change them? Will he use it to change you more? Did this ever work for Jesus? Everyone wants to give at least as much if not more to their kids than their parents gave to them. But we often want it on our terms. In God’s economy, everything is related, for better or worse. Malachi tells us to prepare for the Lord, to turn our hearts to him, by dealing with these relationships. Turning to him begins the a snowball of grace that works its way into an avalanche. Turn to your Father, to your father, and to your children, and pretty soon you are ready for Christmas.
Read the whole thing here.