This Advent, Ask More Questions

A few weeks ago we were reflecting as a family on what the kids discussed in Junior Church when I noticed their answers were starting to get a little rote— “Jesus,” “The Bible,” “God can do anything...”

They were the correct answers, but their drone of voice and glassy eyes told me that we were losing some of the magic of the gospel in this overdone call and response.

In that moment, I was reminded of how my own time in the Word can fall into this pattern. When the passage is familiar or one that has always confused me, I get to the end and think, “God saved the day again…” but not with a tone that conveys the majesty of it all. More like how I might say, “Look, an Amazon delivery...” as if the box was full of shampoo and Q-tips.

So I tried a different tactic: “I wonder... what would you do if you had all the power?”

The light sparked in my children’s eyes, and they came animatedly to life, regaling me with the Pokemon they’d collect and the piles of candy they’d eat and other such childlike delights. We laughed and enjoyed the silliness of their answers. Then, after a moment, I turned the conversation back.

“You know what’s so amazing about God? While we think about using power for things we would enjoy, He used His great power to love and to rescue us.” Together as a family, we marveled at how God can do anything, yet He chose to call a ragtag collection of sinners into His presence for all eternity.

A bit of curiosity and a good question allowed us to shift our focus.

A while back, Alina Sato wrote a beautiful post about the ministry of questions in which she relates using a well timed question to shift a conversation from “Who really gets to go to heaven?” to “Do I want God Himself?” Alina points out the strategic moments where God uses questions—to Adam and Eve, to Job, to the followers of Jesus—to gently pry into the hearts of those whose perspective he wants to reveal and redeem.

And isn’t that the remarkable nature of questions? Once asked, a good question makes us pause. It compels us to consider a different angle on the matter.

Questions are an excellent way for us to dig deep relationally, whether in the context of developing thoughtful connections, offering meaningful encouragement, or providing needed counsel. Questions are also essential for reading our Bibles.

This advent season, take time to ask questions about stories that you may have read many times. Look for details you haven’t noticed before. Ponder how this story fits in with the history of Israel. Consider what part of God’s law is being upheld or broken. Ask yourself where there might be echoes of Jesus in the themes, characters, and storyline.

With Christmas drawing ever near, let us peer together into that ancient manger and follow Mary’s example. Drink deeply from the well of the Word and treasure up all these things, pondering them in our hearts (Luke 2:19).

Want more support in discussing what your kids are learning at Cornerstone? Toddlers and Preschoolers bring home a handout with information from the lesson.