“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words … shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.”
(Deuteronomy 6:5–7, NASB)
An Artic blizzard had spiraled down from Canada and across Lake Michigan, blanketing our little town with more than two feet of snow. As the wind continued to blow, my parents decided that only my father would attend church that Sunday evening. He would walk through the storm while my mother, my sister, and I huddled warm and secure at home.
It was nearly Christmas. A fresh-cut pine stood decorated in the living room. My eyes could barely turn away from the bubbling bulbs and silver tinsel that decked the tree. What a perfect time and place to tell the story, to teach the truth.
My mother sat down in the chair across from the tree, as my sister and I nestled at her feet. She read the story from Luke chapter two. There were shepherds in the field. Angels appeared in glory, telling the good tidings of a Savior newly born. Fear turned to joyful wonder.
The story over, the pedagogy began. “Why did Jesus come to earth?” Even at age five I knew the answer: “To die on the cross.”
“And why did Jesus have to die?”
“To pay the penalty for sin?”
“Are you a sinner?”
“Do you want to trust Jesus to be your Savior?”
On that snowy December night, eternal truth passed from one generation to another, and my life changed forever.