When Moses went to see Pharaoh about the deliverance of the Israelites from the bondage of slavery, the Lord gave him specific instructions about what to say. Exodus 8:20 tells us this:

Now the Lord said to Moses, “Rise early in the morning and present yourself before Pharaoh, as he comes out to the water, and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says, “Let my people go, so they can worship Me.”’"

The Lord had a specific reason for delivering the Israelites out of bondage: He wanted them to be free to worship Him. Our worship is important to God. It should be important to us, too.

God wants our undivided love and worship, and He will go to great lengths to secure both. Look at the magnificent strategy He employed in finally convincing Pharaoh to let His people go. Then, after letting the Israelites go and changing his mind, Pharaoh was once again humbled by the Master Strategist—God simply parted the Red Sea to ensure the freedom of His people to worship and serve Him.

The magnificence and grandeur of the parting of the Red Sea pales in comparison with God’s ultimate plan of redeeming His people from the worst tyrants of all—sin and death. God’s Word is clear that the human race—apart from Christ—is in far worse bondage than the Israelites were during their Egyptian captivity. “For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 7:14, 6:23).  

God sent His Son, His only begotten Son, into this world to redeem us—to free us from the bondage of sin and death. This is the Christmas message—this is the good will toward men that the angels heralded.

                   Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as    it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering    for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh.  (Romans 8:1-3)

Like the Israelites, we have been freed from bondage. We must ask, “Why have we been freed?” Like the Israelites, we have been freed to worship God. Our worship as Christians should be a central theme of our lives and of our families’ lives. Teaching our children to love and worship God should be foundational to our home-schooling and family life in general.

Louise Cowan in Invitation to the Classics (a book edited by Cowan and Os Guinness), says this:

Many of us in the contemporary world have been misled by the secularism of our epoch; we expect proof    if we are to believe in the existence of a spiritual order. Our dry, reductionist reason leads us astray, so    that we harden our hearts against the presence of the holy” (page 22, emphasis mine).

As home-schooling parents, we have the remarkable freedom to teach our children the preeminence of worshipping God. We can teach our children the privilege of adoring the presence of the Holy, rather than hardening their hearts against it. Our home schooling is not an end in itself; it is a means to an end. The end is to raise children equipped with a knowledge of God, a love for God, and a passion for carrying out His work in this world. We must take the time to carve a preeminent place in our lives and in our children’s lives for the presence of the Holy. Like the Israelites, that is why we have been set free.

We can begin during this season of Advent. With Isaac Watts, let us sing, “Joy to the world! The Lord is come.” And let us heed his admonition in our lives and the lives of our family—“Let every heart prepare Him room.” This Christmas season, let’s make it our goal throughout the year to teach our children, through our words and our lives, that each one of us must prepare Him room in our own hearts—that in a secular, cynical world, we can joyfully and constantly embrace the presence of the Holy.

 Zan Tyler is the Senior Education Editor for Crosswalk.com and the co-author of the book Anyone Can HomeSchool. She and her husband have three children and have been home schooling since 1984. Her older two children are now in college. She founded the South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools and served as its president for ten years.