2 days: Kandy did you know?
The greatest aspect of being a teacher is the opportunity to be a student for life, fostering the love of learning for every child in my classroom. I consider myself to not be an expert in any area because there is always, ALWAYS more to discover. Our journey to joy, our theme word for the year, has been no exception. At times, it felt like Jesus’ spittle had been rubbed on my eyes, giving them clear vision to uncover joy in some of the most amazing, and often unexpected, places.
My quiet time with God, the way I strive to start each day, held a deep well spring of joy hidden in verses I had previously overlooked. Or maybe it was God’s way of gently leading me to see what was right in front of my nose all along. Sometimes, I just want to pinch myself, the truth revealed being that exhilarating.
No secret that I celebrate the little stuff, these discoveries sometimes leave me wanting to dance, other times cry, and many times just plain speechless. Since I started this twenty-five day countdown, I vowed to be present this holiday season, my mantra was to not sweat the little stuff because I am recovering worrier, often taking on way more than I should and missing out of the little moments of life. In that vow, several times there were two days of blogs posted on the same day, but this is the first advent in a long time where I was not frazzled.
It is amazing how much more energy my spirit has had to learn when I am not running around like a crazy woman. Sometimes my sweetie looks at a gizmo or gadget and says, “Now, why didn’t I come up with this?” The take your breath away moments I have had this Christmas were equally awe-inspiring and baffling because I couldn’t believe I had never thought of them before.
All were dichotomous in the way that there was always more than meets the eye.
The baby who was born to die . . . so we could live
Our youth pastor breathed these words in a closing prayer the Sunday of our pageant. I stood by my pew with tears streaming down. Tender is the heart of a mother who has lost a child. Easter is my favorite holiday; so, I know the ultimate ending (on earth) for the sweet baby in the manger. God, in flesh, pure royalty chose to come to a world full of every possible evil to be born of humble heritage, knowing, KNOWING, he was coming to die. Although I am certain, she knew the prophesies, did Mary really know the implications of being the mother of God and what his calling on earth would be. My heart broke for hers all these years later because I remember holding that sweet little boy for the first time, laughing because his given name was present in his tiny red curls. Reed means red-haired. I could have never imagined that like Mary, I would outlive my child. Yet, because of her son someday I will see my son again. And for that, I can never be more thankful.
The first visitors were shepherds
Well, most everyone knows that. Next to tent makers and fisherman and farmers, shepherds are a pretty popular profession in the Bible. They are present in many different books of God’s word. But what most people (including me) don’t understand is that while there were plenty of them, theirs was not the most revered occupation. Later in life, Jesus even used them in some of his very own parables. What I didn’t understand was the solitary (in the field) lifestyle of the shepherd often prevented them from participating in ritual cleansings required by their faith. To many, they were lowly and unclean. No wonder, Goliath laughed at David, not only was he small in stature, but he would not have been respected by his own people either. Yet, when the King of Kings was born the first people to be told of the great news were the shepherds. Not having entertained the thought previously, I was humbled to think this is exactly what my Jesus is all about. The outcast, the reject, the lowly, the forgotten, the unclean, the huddled masses were exactly his favorites. He didn’t see shame or neglect or regret, only radiating love. From his first breath, the people the world chose to despise, were loved, loved enough to receive the first formal birth announcement.
Anniversary of his birth
Every year, Christmas is touted as the most wonderful time of the year. For many it is, but for millions of others it isolating, lonely, persecuting, or dreadful. I love Christmas (albeit not as much as I love Easter). Yet as a child, I along with every kid I knew well anxiously awaited its arrival. Wishing and dreaming of a morning filled with surprises was the highlight of the year. As parents, we have continued some of the same traditions for our children. Candles in the window, an Irish tradition, alert Mary and Joseph that there would be room in our home. Next to the tree, sits an empty manger waiting to be filled with a stand-in baby. My devotional the other day filled me with more awe than any other in a long time. In Mary and Joseph’s time, many knew the Messiah would one day come. His birth had been foretold in many different ways and through various prophets. The Israelites knew God to be a God of his promises. The exact time was not known, and yet, they waited in anxious expectation for his arrival. They waited for God’s promise to be revealed, much like children wait for Christmas packages. While today, we celebrate the anniversary of his birth, there is one component I had been missing all along. Like God’s people two thousand years ago, we are awaiting his return. He promised he would come. It has been so much easier to keep my vow to not worry over details when I used the perspective that what I am truly celebrating each year is exactly what Simeon waited for his whole life. He waited for the Messiah to come and each year on the anniversary of his birth, I am anxiously awaiting his return.
Learning is a lifelong journey. And God truly knows this girl has a lot more to discover. May this Christmas be the one God reveals great lessons to your soul.