When we moved into our house two years ago, the previous owners were kind enough to give us their big basket of Christmas lights. They even went so far as to give us a diagram, showing which strand of lights went on which roof peak.

I was delighted! Now, at long last, we’d be counted among the festive! The peeks of our rooftop would mirror the glow of other roof-lines, giving wonderment and hope to all.

But I have come to learn, over these past two Christmas seasons, that it was not for lack of a diagram that our rooftop remained unlit. Nor was it for lack of the actual lights. For we have both of these now, and yet we still have no festivity happening on our rooftop. (Our porch might have some lights this year, but only as high as my little ladder reaches.)

I’ll bet the previous owners drive by and shake their heads with incredulous disgust. They’re probably saying, “I mean, come on. We gave you a diagram! We gave you the lights, for crying out loud! At least have the decency to put them up and plug them in!”

But even if they rolled their windows down and said this out loud to my husband, he would just shrug and say, “Nah… You go right ahead and risk your neck to raise your electric bill. I’ll just stay here on the ground of my non-lit property and smile at you.”

There are some parents who drive by the lives of their adult children with similar incredulous disgust. Not because their children have no Christmas lights, but because they aren’t shining the Light we celebrate at Christmas–Jesus Christ.

These parents are sad and hurt and deeply troubled. They say, “We passed our own faith down to you, for crying out loud! All you had to do was take it!” Yet their adult son stands on his own non-lit  property, and says, “Nah… You go ahead and risk everything for some Light I can’t see. I’ll just shrug and smile at you.”

I’m not naive enough to think that this could never be me. I’ve heard enough stories to know I need to be deeply concerned about passing my faith onto my children. But here’s what I’ve learned: All the variations of the ‘bridge diagram‘ won’t necessarily give my sons a passion for Jesus. Nor is my love for Christ something I can pack in a basket for my daughter to take when she moves out.

My kids will only inherit my faith if it becomes their own. They must see Jesus, not just as a baby at Christmas time, but as the Light who will save them from the dark, emptiness of the world. The There must be a stirring inside their very own soul–an intrinsic love and passion for Jesus, who was both a baby in a manger and the glorified Lord, risen from the dead!

Moms and Dads, we can’t pass our faith on to our kids like a box of Christmas lights. But we can create homes that showcase the warm glow of Jesus to our children, so that every moment in our home… even after they’ve moved away… is an invitation to Christ.

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