Whenever I hear bells at Christmas, I am reminded of a precious woman from our church who came and shared with us how she would “ring in the season.”
The house is dark except for the glowing fire. Children sit quietly in eager anticipation. From far across the house comes the sound of jingle bells ringing. It is not a deep resounding gong, but a twinkling. The bells sound closer and closer and closer until finally Mom appears in the room – the bearer of the bells. The excitement builds as each child is asked what Christmas is about. The kids respond with eagerness and joy. They have been in anticipation since that morning, when Mom whispered in their ears that “something special is happening tonight.” The older kids know it is the annual ringing in of Christmas in the Dabney home.
This tradition in the Home of Larry and Marty Dabney is one of the many ways they create “Moments” in their home each year for Christmas. When Marty was a young mother to Tim, Beth Ann and Daniel, she looked for ways to create what author Bob Vincent called “Magical, holy, twinkle of time that only comes from God.” She is a great believer of such moments. While these moments can come unplanned and unanticipated, a mother can do much to promote the opportunities for these moments. With a little planning and little preparation, these moments can happen more often than if left to chance.
Dabney impressed on me the importance of seizing the precious moments of childhood. What a pity to come to the end of your life and realize you were always too busy with the hurry of life to enjoy the time you were given. She shared from Max Lucado’s book, God Came Near, to refuse to allow familiarity to cause us to be too busy to notice our children. The Bible gives us advice for how to impart God’s word upon our children. The Message paraphrases Deuteronomy 6:5-6 this way: “Write these commands I have given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside of your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates.” These scriptures indicate taking every moment of opportunity with our children to impart God’s word. Also, Dabney reminded me that 3rd John 1:4 tells us that there is “no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”
Use the Christmas season, and every season to impart those precious moments that will give a life-long love for God and to celebrate those “magic, holy, twinkles of time that only come from God.”