“When you enter the land the Lord has promised to give you, you will continue to observe this ceremony. Then your children will ask, ‘What does this ceremony mean?’ And you will reply, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, for he passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt. And though he struck the Egyptians, he spared our families.’ When Moses had finished speaking, all the people bowed down to the ground and worshiped.” (Exodus 12:25-27)
Monday morning, I read Exodus 12 and 13 and saw parallels to the holiday being observed, Memorial Day. I saw many folks post things online that said something to the effect of not taking the day for granted as just another day off, but think about those who died for our freedom. Sadly, for many holidays, we just go through the motions of our typical holiday activities (for example, grilling out and going swimming in the freshly-opened pool) without stopping to fully appreciate what the day means. We LOVE the day off work and the time with our friends and family and give perhaps a two-second thought to the real reason for celebration.
The Bible gives very specific instructions for remembering important events. Each year, the Israelites were to take off work and celebrate a ceremony. This time was important and the instructions were to be passed on permanently throughout the generations. Specifically, it was a time to pause and reflect. Children would notice the difference in activities and ask why. Their hearts and minds would be open to learning what was going on, and it was the parents’ responsibility to reply with the truth about what God had done. Each generation was to tell the next of God’s faithfulness – how God rescued the Israelites from slavery, how they lived in freedom because of God’s mighty power and generous care and concern for His people. The parents were to use these celebrations to teach their children, who would teach their children, who would teach their children, and so on…forever!
“On the seventh day you must explain to your children, ‘I am celebrating what the Lord did for me when I left Egypt.’ This annual festival will be a visible sign to you, like a mark branded on your hand or your forehead. Let it remind you always to recite this teaching of the Lord: ‘With a strong hand, the Lord rescued you from Egypt. So observe the decree of this festival at the appointed time each year.” (Exodus 13:8-10). Again in verse 14, the Bible says that children will ask “what does this mean” and again it says that that the ‘holiday’ or festival was a visible reminder.
We have been given a challenging and awesome responsibility to raise our children – not just keep them fed, keep them safe and keep them well-behaved. We need to teach our children about what God has done. We need to instruct our kids about why we observe holidays and ceremonies. We need to show our children the truth and give them opportunities to ask questions to lead them on the right path. Parenting is hard, but it’s of utmost importance. Sadly, it can be easier to focus on ourselves – to check out on electronics or spend our time selfishly pursuing our own passions and goals without giving our little ones the necessary quality time to truly teach them. Recently I’ve seen so many folks saying “what has the world come to?!?!” I think teaching the next generation to fear God and honor the Bible is where a change for the better can take shape. These boys in my home will be part of the leadership of tomorrow. If I want to see the world change, I need to do my part in teaching, reminding, encouraging, and remembering…
Father God, thank You for Your mighty acts and strong power. Thank You for what You did and who You are. Please help us teach our children about You and to fear You. Please reveal Yourself to them through Your Word and Holy Spirit. May we not forget why we celebrate holidays or why we take days of rest. Help us instruct and encourage our little ones to make godly choices for Your glory. May the world be changed for the better, and will You help us as You did the Israelites. Break any ties of slavery to sin and help us live in freedom, light and love. We thank You and praise You. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!