Monday, September 20, 2010

First Bible + a giveaway I want to tell you about!

A month or two ago, while browsing the book section at the ARC, I happened upon some childrens' Bibles.  Pristine condition.  Looked as if they'd never been touched, much less read.  None of them cost more than $2.

It suddenly occurred to me that this would be a great thing to buy for each of my kids, to keep on hand until they are able to read (so far I have one reader, Anna, but hopefully soon I'll have more!).  I envisioned them being a special gift.  It's God's Word, afterall!

Last month also happened to be Anna's first communion.  That's when I decided her Bible (which I'd picked up on a subsequent ARC trip, and hidden on a shelf in my closet, waiting for the perfect occasion) would be the perfect First Communion gift!  Symbolic of her unique relationship with Jesus. 

Our church had such a sweet ceremony for the children receiving their first communion.  (Thanks Kevin for coming up with the initial idea!  :) )

So, when she got up that Sunday morning, I had a gift bag waiting for her at her seat at the breakfast table.  And she was soooooo excited to discover that it contained her very first big girl Bible!  (It's the Young Women of Faith Bible, NIV translation, and the recommended age is 8-12.) 

My thinking in all of this is to help my children grow in their faith.  They all believe in Jesus, and in their need for Him.  They believe He is God's son.  They know they are sinful.  As for me, I really want them to embrace God's call on their lives and to follow after Him wholeheartedly.  Faith is not a private affair; it's communal and ought to involve every aspect of our very lives.  We attend church each Sunday where we worship God through liturgy and sacrament.  Then we host and lead a small group study each Tuesday night in our home.  We have family Bible time (sadly sans Kevin since he's usually already left for work) over the morning oatmeal, using this fabulous Bible that we have gone through so many times over the past three years, and occasionally work through catechism questions too.  It's good.  Faith isn't meant to exist in a vacuum. 

But I also want my children to realize that spiritual formation involves personal time spent pursuing God, too.  Personal time in prayer and worship and studying the Bible.  Thus, the gifting of a big kid Bible.  Giving my children the tools to learn more about who God is and where we fit into God's story.  An attempt to make it something special, to show that we should give thanks that we have access to this compilation of precious, ancient writings.

{I was also able to pick up a pack of girly, fun ruled-paper journals at Costco (three for $9.99!)--I'm going to set Anna  up with one of those too, I think, to keep with her Bible. So she can journal, jot down prayer requests, or draw a picture.  Her handwriting is still coming along, but she can get by I think--especially if I include a cute pen with it.  :) }

My childrens' faith is something that is so very important to me.  It's something I take very seriously.  I often think about what I want to impart to them, as I also reflect upon my own upbringing in a non-denominational, conservative country church.  While I wouldn't choose that church for myself today, I have incredibly fond memories of my childhood there: singing old hymns, learning about Amy Carmichael in Sunday School class, and memorizing Bible verses.  And oh how I loved visiting with friends before and after the service.  Good times.  Lots of community.  Experiencing the love of Christ.

And in addition to that community and relationship building, church also somehow helped nurture my own private faith system, which is still alive and well today.  It's all related somehow, and I'm not sure which comes first, or if one even has to come first.  If I'm following after God and trusting and obeying Him, then I can better contribute to my faith community.  If I'm involved in my faith community, then that will help bolster my private spiritual life.

It works both ways, and I want my sweet little kiddos to experience that.  We have a lot of community in our busy home, but I also want to encourage personal relationship building with God too.  Thus the gifting of a Bible to each child when he/she is able to read it.  I may continue the tradition of doing it the day they receive their first communion--it was really special and hopefully something my daughter will always remember!

Eventually I'd love to see some individual Bible time worked into everyone's schedule each day, or at least a few times per week.  As part of our homeschool day.  Raising men and women of God, passionate about Jesus and His work in the world and in their lives, is our ultimate goal here anyway!

AND, on a related note, head over to the least complicated to enter a drawing for a Seeds Family Worship CD!  I think my kids would love, love, love to have one of these.  I have to admit that I am not very proactive about scripture memorization in our home, but I do think this would make it a lot of fun!  (My friend Jennifer always finds the best stuff.  She has introduced me to Hoong's Chinese food, the ARC, yummy maltballs from Sprouts...the list goes on.  So if she says this is a great CD, I know it is definitely worth owning!!!)


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