What Christmas can teach parents …

An algebra teacher was concerned his students were not learning the material he was teaching, so he sent a note home to each parent asking them not to do any of the homework he assigned to their children.

The next day, one student turned in a reply from his parents. The note read, “Dear Mr. Wood, we are flattered that you think we could.”

Because of the love for their children, parents are sometimes tempted to overextend themselves for their kids. Any good parent wants to support their children in learning and maturing however they can.

Imagine, then, the parents of Joseph and Mary.

Can you imagine what Joseph’s parents could have thought when he explained to them that Mary was pregnant … but the child wasn’t his … but the child was the Holy Spirit’s?

“Joseph! We raised you better than that!” they may have shouted in response.

They may have initially been disappointed and angry, thinking their own son was lying to them — and not being good at it! — to cover his own sin with Mary. Then perhaps their anger swung from their son to Mary. It could be that Joseph’s own parents may have encouraged him to stone her as an adulterer, or at the very least, to “divorce” his fiance. They may have blamed Mary for wrecking their son’s good reputation.

But then, just imagine what Mary’s parents must have thought! They likely didn’t buy her explanation for her pregnancy. If there would have been shotguns in those days, Mary’s dad would likely have gone looking for Joseph … and perhaps he did, anyway.

Whatever these sets of parents thought and felt, it probably wasn’t supportive toward Mary and Joseph, at least initially. They probably didn’t make things easy for this young couple for a long time, and there likely weren’t any warm and fuzzy dinner gatherings between families.

In spite of all the understandable thoughts these parents could have had in such remarkable circumstances, their opinions were probably wrong initially. God was doing a miraculous and marvelous thing through these two young people; their incredulous explanation was true!

Without spiritual discernment, it is easy for parents to fail to cooperate with the great things God is doing in the lives of their children. It’s so easy to react from our limited thoughts and emotions, without giving any prayerful consideration that God might be up to something remarkable.

They only way parents can understand what God is doing in the lives of their children is for the parents to be yielded to God themselves, listening closely to Him through His word, pouring out their hearts to Him in prayer, and being sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Otherwise, you might just be more like Mary and Joseph’s parents.

Are you cooperating with God to achieve His will in the lives of your children? Or are you an obstruction to your children in their obedience to God?