"Mom Says/Dad Says," an exclusive Christian parental advice column by Gregory Slayton, former U.S. Ambassador to Bermuda and author of the best-selling book Be a Better Dad Today: Ten Tools Every Father Needs, and his wife, Marina Slayton, author of the new book Be The Best Mom You Can Be. The Slaytons have been featured on Fox and Friends, Focus on the Family Radio and numerous other media outlets. They donate 100% of their royalties from parenting books to fatherhood and family nonprofits.
Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman, Governors Jeb Bush and Sam Brownback and Pastors Tim Keller and Luis Palau, among others, have endorsed the Slaytons. In their exclusive series for The Christian Post, both Marina and Gregory will answer thoughtful Christian parents seeking to raise their children up in the goodness of the Gospel and the Glory of God. If you would like to have Marina and Gregory answer your questions, please contact them via firstname.lastname@example.org.
PARENTS QUESTION: Every year Christmas just seems to get busier and busier for us. We have two young kids, but our parents are getting older and we find ourselves serving them more and more as well as our kids. My husband's parents are quite frail these days and caring for them is taxing, especially since they want to be with us for the holidays. We know that Christmas is meant to be a time of fellowship for our family and closest friends…and a time to reconnect with our Heavenly Father too. But how can we do that in the midst of all the craziness (shopping, planning, travelling, cooking, serving, etc. etc. etc.)? Thank you very much for your advice…
MOM SAYS: these days we must consciously choose to DO LESS and to SAY NO when possible. Some might think this is mean or unkind, but in fact it is just being realistic. We only have 24 hours every day…and no more than 14 hours after we sleep and eat and take care of basic necessities. If we allow those times to be filled with the less important things, we will not have enough time for the more important things.
The most important things are always people…never things. Taking care of your children …helping them to understand the deeper meaning and inner beauty of Christmas …that is very important. Taking care of your parents, honoring them for all they have done, is very important. The first of the Ten Commandments with an explicit blessing in it is this one 'Honor your mother and father …" So we know how important that is.
Everything else, the church bake sales, the volunteering in your kids class, the holiday parties with neighbors…and many other good parts of the holidays …are secondary. Feel free to say "no thanks" this year. Of course say it with love and grace…and send something nice you bought at the store to the bake sale if you can. But even Jesus, the Son of God, didn't try to do everything. He didn't heal everyone. He didn't feed everyone. He didn't preach to everyone. He knew His Mission …to love us into His Father's family. And He accomplished His Mission with joy and grace.
Let's be more like Jesus this Christmas. Let's understand what is our core mission. And let's accomplish it with joy and grace.
Merry Christmas to what I'm sure is a wonderful and loving family,
DAD SAYS: I agree with Marina wholeheartedly on this one…and I'll just add one mor thing: PRAISE THE LORD!! More and more I am coming to see the importance of prayer and praise in life. For example, in every circumstance I have a choice. Faced with the craziness of the holidays I can thank God for the responsibilities He has given me (a big family) and pray for His help with all I must do…or I can be bitter about all the work I have to do (ugh) and be mad at God (and usually others) for not providing more help. Life is always better when I choose to be thankful and prayerful. Always.
It is interesting that only once does Jesus ever tell us that God seeks something from us. In John 4 Jesus tells the Samaritan woman at the well an amazing truth: "true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth, for these are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks" John 4:23.
That is amazing, the God of the Universe (Shang Di) is seeking me to fellowship with Him in Spirit and Truth. That is revolutionary. My goal for 2016 is to put that truth into practice every single day. Let's start this Christmas. Instead of worry or anxiety … let's try prayer and praise. The God of the Universe promises to be with us if we do…