We should always view children as gifts of Divine favor. Father and mother are equally important to a child’s mental and physical development. Our children watch what we say and do, not just to them only but also to others.
During their formative years, children learn whether or not they can trust what their parents say. Each action by a parent creates a reaction in a child’s conscience and attitude. I learned early in my lessons on parenting that children have great expectations from parents. In addition to unconditional love and guidance, our young people expect us to provide everything they need and want.
One of the primary lessons parents should master, is to refrain from making promises they do not intend to or may be unable to keep. Children are vulnerable and easily disappointed by broken promises. Memories of unkept promises can remain like a scar from chickenpox and hang around like unresolved memory dents. A broken promise is a broken vow.
As an adult, I have experienced many disappointments. Although I vaguely remember some of them, I don’t carry them with me like a backpack or an extra piece of luggage. Yet, they do serve as a reminder that I have a ‘go-to’ I can always count on who will never break a promise.
For just a moment, let’s talk about the nature of a promise. First, a promise is a declaration/pledge that a person will or won’t do something. Next, a promise is an expectation of gaining something positive or better. However, some promises include negative consequences.
It is hard to imagine anything that could guarantee no broken promises during our life journey. But if you are willing to treat your soul and spirit to adventure, it would be exciting to learn about a few unbreakable promises.
In our current environment, we face an onslaught of broken promises. Many of the things in which we invested time, energy, and money are like a bowl of fruit-flavored gelatin or pudding. They are shaky, have a weak foundation, and give little return. Unkept promises can bring about an unhealthy situation and weaken the core of any relationship. Broken promises are worthless.
Unlike monetary or human endowments, God's promises are a solid and validated investment. They never fail, and there is always a return. In fact, they come with an eternal guarantee of “Yes and Amen.”
(2 Corinthians 1:20).
In this unfolding new year, before making resolutions that you won’t or can’t keep, consider learning more about the promises of God with confidence that He will never break His promise. It is impossible for Him to lie. (Hebrews 6:18)
During this time of year, there is so much activity and focus on one of the holidays called “Christmas.” Its origin has led to a colossal mixture of ways in which we celebrate. Each celebration appears to include symbolism pointing to a new beginning.
For the Christian community, it is identified as a time to celebrate the birth of Christ. For others, it is the time to celebrate the Winter Solstice, which marks the onset of winter at the time of the shortest day. It determines the number of hours and minutes each hemisphere receives sunlight, so these festivities focus on the sun.
In many families, it is a time of gift-buying and giving, Christmas trees, gleeful smiles of expectation of toys, games, and other items on wish lists of young people and Santa Claus for small children.
Then, there is the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, the feast of dedication and festival of lights celebrating the miracle of the one-day supply of oil that extended the flame in the Temple for eight days. This is not a celebration of Christmas, but its celebration date falls within the Christmas holiday season.
And there is still one more thing to be added to the mix—depression. With this year being one of the most unusual to be recorded in history, some people will not find it a particularly appealing time. There is an endless list of things that could cause depression or dampen our spirits. However, I will not mention them since they remind me of gutter balls in a bowling alley or a foul ball at a baseball game. In either scenario, there are no shouts of victory.
Given this mixture, how can each of us appreciate and enjoy the holiday? Here are a few thoughts on the subject:
In other countries, they celebrate their traditional Christmas holiday in multiple ways. We are blessed in this country to be able to enjoy this holiday season with different views. Respect for the opinions of others is one of our freedoms even though we may disagree with their thinking. During this season, if we thank God for His everlasting gift of Love for all of us and acknowledge that all perfect gifts come from Him, then true celebration is expressed. (Psalm 103:17; John 3:16; Romans 8:39; James 1:17).
Many of you recently celebrated the national holiday known as Thanksgiving. The concept of this United States holiday has been associated with the Plymouth village colonists called "Pilgrims."¹ Various sources attribute the “First Thanksgiving” as a feast celebrated in 1621 after the first harvest attended by Native Americans and Pilgrims. History credits Abraham Lincoln as the proclaimer of Thanksgiving Day as a national United States holiday to be observed in November.²
Activities often associated with this holiday include gathering of family and friends, prayer, eating, and relaxing. This year, Thanksgiving celebrations were different and unusual, taking on a “dream-like” atmosphere. This year’s holiday celebration was full of unexpected and unique approaches to old traditions.
Face masks, greater than normal space between people, virtual get-togethers with family and friends, less cooking and more online ordering of food, and outside dinner-serving claimed center stage.
Despite all the modifications, the essential ingredients of a traditional family dinner remain constant. Prayer and thankfulness become essential to the gatherings.
We may question the need for thankfulness given all the challenges swirling around us throughout this year. Our “normal” has almost become extinct and replaced by a “new normal.” Here are a few of the reasons for being thankful despite the negatives associated with the thankfulness:
COVID-19 burst on the scene uninvited.
So What! It provided an opportunity to find out what it feels like to prepare and survive “white water rafting.” We are still in training.
Most of the entertainment venues like sports were halted.
So What! Many of us took to the streets, sidewalks, and beaches to run, ride bikes, or walk. Our children and pets spent more quality time with us, and we discovered our legs and feet are remarkable assets to our bodies. We adjusted and became less stressed about winners and losers.
We have to wear face masks and keep a certain distance from others.
So What! We could cut down on our getting dressed to go-out time, and our personal spaces became wider. Besides, when is the last time you heard anyone cough and sneeze near you? According to a chief nutritionist, a sneeze can travel as far as 200 feet, and a cough releases airborne particles that can travel from 5 to 200 times the distance.³ How’s that for a shout out for facial masks!
We have to disinfect everything.
So What! We learned some new ways of doing things, like singing the “Happy Birthday” song while keeping our hands clean with soap and water. Hand washing became a new adventure for kids, which automatically reduced the “carrier” syndrome among children (and some adults) who rarely washed their hands. Hand sanitizers became our “trendy” accessory, We also learned that bleach could do more than remove stains.
We have to stand in line to buy groceries.
So What! If we had money to buy groceries, that is a blessing. We also met some of our community while waiting to go into the store. One of the best outcomes to be thankful for, the stores now clean the carts! I rarely remember this happening before COVID.
Apart from these, we continue to enjoy the privilege of celebrating Thanksgiving. Even more important is we have the freedom to give thanks and pray.
Giving thanks is an attitude. It should be within us to be thankful 365 days a year. Thanksgiving provides us the opportunity to express both our gratitude and our need for dependency upon God. We pray and give thanks for all of the gifts we have received. With joy, love, and in friendship, we can celebrate with others His everlasting goodness.
¹en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Thanksgiving_(United_States)