It is safe to say that one of the reasons the Jewish people have survived as a people group is due to their rituals. For example, the Jewish Sabbath is observed more at home than in the synagogue. Many of its religious rituals are fulfilled in the house: The Sabbath candles, the parental blessing of the children, the kiddush, (a prayer of blessing over the wine by the head of the household), the festive meal and concluding grace over meals. As I have said for many years:
put life in your liturgy and reality in your rituals.
A Thanksgiving Family Ritual
This last Thanksgiving (2021) as our family concluded our meal, I assigned three of our grandchildren to read portions of the magnificent recounting of the journey of the pilgrim’s departure from Holland to landing off the shores of Cape Cod. (Look to the Founders’ Bible pages 179-190, How Then Shall We Live? The Mayflower Voyage and Compact.) It was such a powerful experience as everyone around the table was able to enter into the meaningful conversation about some of the roots of America.
A Christmas Dinner Time Ritual?
As we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, perhaps you would like to interact at the end of your meal about some of the reasons why Christ came to earth. Below are 10 reasons I listed from Scripture. Perhaps you could read these aloud and have each person share which one means the most to them and why?
- He Came to Save us from our sins
“And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”- Matt. 1:21 NLT
- He Came to Die
27 “Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came! 28 Father, bring glory to your name.” Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, “I have already brought glory to my name, and I will do so again.”- John 12:27-28 NLT
- He Came to Call Sinners
“I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.”- Luke 5:32 NLT
- He Came to Bring a Sword
34 “Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword. 35 ‘I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 Your enemies will be right in your own household!’ – Matt. 10:34-36 NLT
- He Came to do His Father’s Will
27 “Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came! 28 Father, bring glory to your name.” Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, “I have already brought glory to my name, and I will do so again.” – John 12:27-28 NLT
38 “For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will.” – John 6:38 NLT
- He Came to Give us an Abundant life
10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” – John 10:10 NIV
- He Came to Seek and Save the Lost
10 “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” – Luke 19:10 NIV
- He Came to Destroy the Devil’s Works
8 “The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” – 1 John 3:8 NIV
- He Came to Testify to the Truth
37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “you say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” – John 18:37 NIV
- He Came to fulfill the Law
The word “fulfil” means, (to interpret it and show us how to obey God’s laws given through His prophets).
17 “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” – Matthew 5:17 KJV
Religions, and Christianity in particular, and, for that matter almost anything important…patriotism, weddings, funerals, they all need rituals!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!