Welcome to Family Faith and Fun Fridays!As the week winds down and I anticipate more family time over the weekend, I often ask God for one good idea that will enable me to bring the Word to life and bring our family together. Usually, the activity overflows out of something the Lord has been teaching me through His Word during the week. I’d like to invite you to join me and my family in the adventure. Sometimes I’ll post things we’ve tried; other times I’ll post an idea in the works. If you’ve got thoughts to add or suggestions on how to adapt or improve the activity, please don’t hesitate to comment. Enjoy!
Embracing God's Blueprint: A Lesson from Joseph
As I wrap up a week that refused to acquiese to MY plans and expectations, I've been thinking about a simple family night we enjoyed during the Advent season. Once again, I'm convicted by the irony of parenting. Though I most often picture myself as the teacher of my children, the Lord continues to remind me that I, too, am still a student. More often than not, the spiritual lessons that I share with my family communicate the truths that I need most. This delightful activity is case in point!
We spent the holiday season asking ourselves the question: "What lessons can we learn from the characters in the nativity story that can help us prepare our hearts for Jesus today?" Each morning, while I worked my way through the gospel accounts of the nativity, I used that question to frame my ponderings. As I studied Christ's earthly father, I was moved by Joseph's quiet surrender to God's plans. Even before he realized that Mary's ludicrous story was truth, this upright man of God chose to handle his own heartbreak without scathing the woman who appeared to have betrayed him in the most humiliating way. Joseph, her fiance, was a good man and did not want to disgrae her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly. (Matthew 1:19).
Perhaps Joseph's immediate act of obedience reveals why this nondescript man had been chosen to be the adoptive father of God's son. "When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus." (Matthew 1:24-25)
When I'd finished reading this familiar tale, I was struck by one question: Do I willingly trade my plans for God's? In the small things- like messed up plumbing and sick children and sleepless nights- and in the big things- like relocation and career dreams and finances- am I willing to let God re-arrange the blueprints I've drawn up for my life? Like Joseph, I want my answer to be YES!
And so, we had a building night of our own...I want my children's answer to be the same.
We pulled out all the Legos in the house and gave each participant this assignment: Build anything you want in five minutes. We set the timer and the creativity began. Houses, cars, boats, and blobs- the creations that grew beneath my children's hands were as varied as the children themselves. Even Rob applied his engineering skills to an impressive trophy of Lego architecture. As we built, I warned the family that they needed to be fully prepared to change their final product. "Your creation may not look like you've envisioned once we're done with this activity," I said in hopes of avoiding tears and frustration when the hard lesson took effect.
How did it feel to change your creation? Did you want to follow the new instructions or not? Why was it hard to modify your plan? Do you think our plans for life match God's exactly? What will you do if God asks you to change your plans? Has He already done that? (Rob and I shared stories at this point from our own lives.) What if Joseph had clung to his own plan instead of God's? How might OUR lives be changed? What can we learn from Jesus' earthly father?