Ole Hallesby was a Norwegian pastor and professor in the first half of the 20th century. He was one of the founding members of Menighetsfakultetet, the Norwegian theological seminary where I did research in 2012. While several of his books were translated into English during his lifetime, he is all but forgotten among Lutherans in the United States. I find his devotional writings and his sermons both up-building and a good way to keep up my Norwegian. Periodically, when I encounter a piece that I find particularly compelling, I will translate it into English and feature it here. In this devotion from December 22nd, Hallesby discusses what it takes to make a Christian home:
Today, salvation has come to this house. – Luke 19.9
No Christian work is more difficult than building a Christian home. But many are not clear about this. Their Christian work goes out to conferences and societies. But they don’t put any work into building a Christian home, or, at any rate, not any planned and purposeful work. A home isn’t created when to people get together and get married. It also doesn’t come with a luxurious appearance and a lot of money and good company and parties. It doesn’t even come about because the two people are Christians.
The home is shaped by the way it gladdens these two to live together. It’s shaped by the open, intimate, revealing, and forgiving life of love between the two. This is the decisive matter for all relationships in the home, even the relationships to children, servants, friends, and guests.
The secret of the Christian home is to be Christian together. Therefore we must see what our daily Christian work looks like:
Every day, we will meet God together in common devotion: prayer, reading, and song. Yes, let us sing together. Song unites us in a mysterious way. And let us be helped so that our devotion becomes a moment of celebration in our home every day. But, we must pray for this. We pray for ways to go forward. But nothing needs to be improved in our prayer quite like our daily home devotion. Otherwise it sinks down to become like the driest business meeting.
And you, good God, we thank for the home that you have given us. First for our parent’s home with all its bright joys of childhood. And now we thank you for that home we have established. Lord, preserve us from the sins that destroy the home! Amen.
From Hallesby, Ole. Daglig Fornyelse: Andaktsbok for Hjemmet. Translated by Kristofer Coffman. Oslo: Lutherstiftelsens Forlag, 1951, 363.