Best of the Week: Nativity Scenes & 5 Reasons to Read The Bible When You’re Not Feeling It

In Best of the Week we link to a handful of the best articles, videos, books, etc. that we have come across in the last week. We hope this will point you to some of the right places and give you gospel-rich tools and thoughts for life and mission.

Why I Changed My Mind on Nativity Scenes

“This is why I don’t dismiss nativity scenes anymore. I need all the bridges between the gospel and the culture that I can get. These little figurines can do a big work of reminding people that there’s a God who loved this broken world so much that he sent his Son into it.”

This is a good piece about looking for ways to bridge the gap to the gospel in a culture that is increasingly burying the Christian worldview and losing their familiarity with it. It gives rise to the idea of how our own decorating points to the real celebration of Christmas.

Putting Christmas Back in Christ

“But what about our ‘worldly’ Christmas customs? Did you ever notice how many of them can remind us of the second coming of Christ, simply by our honest enjoyment of these good blessings?  For example: The anticipation of Christmas day during the Christmas season teaches me to look forward to and focus on his coming, which will commence the most merry season of all.”

Brace yourself for some “Christmas came from a pagan holiday” in this one (which is true, by the way). But she does come full circle to talk about why we can celebrate Christmas anyway. She also does an excellent job connecting it to our cultural narrative and connecting many of our own western Christmas traditions to celebrating God’s rescue and future restoration (two themes we’ve talked about a lot this Advent).

5 Reasons to Read the Bible When You Feel Absolutely Nothing

“Reading God’s word is usually like planting seeds. I won’t see the fruit of it immediately, but eventually, that fruit will come forth. If you ever wonder why a particular Christian is so mature, it’s because they’ve spent many hours planting seeds in the soil of their heart.”

Five good and short reasons to make time to read the Bible and persevere in it, even when it feels dry (and that’s true for all of us at times). I especially like the analogy to planting seeds and waiting expectantly for a harvest.

How to Help your Children Become Better Sermon Listeners

“If your children are really young you may want to write down important words like God, Father, Jesus, Christ, Holy Spirit, church, gospel, and so on, and have them circle or make a tally mark by each one every time the pastor mentions that word. If they are too young to recognize the words, then you could do symbols for each one.”

First of all, take the pressure off for your kid to act perfect in worship (whatever that is anyway). Second, let’s acknowledge that we can help them learn how to engage with some effort and thought on our end. This article leans a little heavy on getting your kids dialed in (especially younger kids), but the point he makes is right on, and the ideas he gives are super helpful.

Hope for the Hurting This Christmas

We have this video posted on our own Advent page. It is a very engaging and powerful reading of a story written by Dr. John Piper. It will make you think about some aspects of the birth of Jesus you probably haven’t before, and it points us all to the real reason for hope as we approach Christmas. If you have 10 minutes or so, I’d encourage you to watch it. I think I watch it every year.

Have a Good Week.