Advent Devotional: Faith-Family Tree {Blessings}

Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward (Psalm 127:3 NASB).

IMG_5614We were over-the-moon excited when we found out we were pregnant. Even though we didn’t know our firstborn would be a boy, we loved him from the very idea of conception. Three years later that same excitement and anticipation filled my heart when we found out we were having our second child – a girl baby. Two children complete our immediate family and every Christmas when we decorate the tree memories flood our minds.

Christmas ornaments make the tree beautiful and fill it with thoughts of good times. My mom always pulls out the old ornaments her children made years ago that we displayed on the fica tree in our house. Homemade ornaments which should have lasted for only a season hold a presence on her beautiful tree among the Lenox and lights today. It wasn’t until I became a mom myself that I realized their priceless value.

My cinnamon gingerbread men & women, lists of gratitude, and the popsicle-framed grade school pictures on my mom’s tree are similar to my daughter’s ballerinas, my son’s electric guitars and all of our cinnamon dough stars and the fish ornaments on our tree.  These silly ornaments do not hold any value to anyone except to us. Every time we pull them out of their boxes, they trigger fond memories and our hearts smile. To us, they symbolize childhood, the blessing of siblings, and the bond that ties our family together as one.

Children are blessing from the Lord.

While some siblings are close, there are many who are not-so-close. All sibling relationships are unique and sibling rivalry has existed since the beginning of time. Some siblings become best friends, while others remain fierce competitors.

Adam and Eve had a son named Cain, who became very jealous of his brother, Abel when he was born.

Today’s Scripture:

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow (James 1:17 NASB).

By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead (Hebrews 11:4 NIV).

And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew (Genesis 4:25 KJV).

Today’s Snapshot: Children {Siblings}

Cain gave God an offering, but He gave it with a proud heart, so God rejected his offering. Abel gave God an offering with a humble heart. His offering expressed sincerity and believing obedience.

Abel offered in faith, but Cain did not. 

From the beginning of time, there have been two kinds of people who go to God. There are those who go to God with pride-filled hearts, and those who go to God with humble, believing hearts. God knew Cain’s heart and his intentions. God sees discontent harbored in the heart. The offering did not change the birth order, regardless Cain’s jealousy grew. In this extreme case, Cain’s jealousy became so intense that he lost control and killed his sibling. God banished Cain into the wilderness, and he eventually settled in the land of Nod just east of Eden.

Abel-like hearts continue to speak through lives
which display love and devotion to the Creator of all things created. 

Adam and Eve had a third child named Seth, through whom the Spiritual seed was passed down into the arms of the mother who birthed the Savior of the world. On the cross, God put the broken pieces back together again. The cross gives our hurting world hope.

Family Discussion:
~
What is your all-time favorite Christmas ornament?
~ God knows our hearts.  He knows our struggles. What is one struggle you face with your siblings today?
~ When you pray, do you pray with a humble, repentant, and believing heart?  Or, do you pray with selfish intentions from having a pride-filled heart?

Closing Prayer:
Heavenly Father,
I praise You for the gift of children.  As we loved them first, thank You for loving us first and adopting us as Your own. I praise You for my children’s relationships as siblings. May the memories we create in our home as a family last throughout their lifetimes, and may those memories always make their hearts smile. Thank You for the good times and thank You for the hard times which cause us to look towards You with great expectation. May they come to You with humble and believing hearts. We are grateful for family, we are grateful for friends, and we are grateful for the gift of forgiveness, which You gave to each of us in Your Son one Silent Night so long ago.
In the precious name of Jesus, I pray,
Amen 

Basking in His Light

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