And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Like the shepherds keeping constant watch over their flocks into the night, life for me is full. Very full. As an elementary school teacher, I am teaching Kindergarten for the first time this year, which has been great, but not short of challenges. I have a full day of scheduled activities to keep my active learners engaged. When I’m not with my kids, I’m planning for the next lesson in math, reading, writing, science, social studies, and social-emotional learning. I have kids from all backgrounds at varying degrees of abilities, learning strengths and challenges, and personal highlights and areas of growth.
Like the shepherds, my profession can easily define my time, energy, and life right now. Each day has its challenges and I’ve come to realize these challenges are just like the angel of the Lord appearing to the shepherds where the glory of the Lord shines, and I’m often terrified.
What has helped me to accept joy amid uncertainty and trouble is Jesus. I turn to Him when I’m afraid, unsure, and in need of wisdom and answers. I’ve become so good at needing God that it’s almost automatic. It isn’t just a prayer I say, but a heart attitude He’s formed in me. It’s become an attitude of humility recognizing I don’t have it together and need Him to help.
And, He meets me. He provides. He anchors me in His love, joy, and peace and fills me enough to share with my kids. He provides friends, colleagues, and support to help me problem solve. His mercies reveal my areas of growth and weakness, and His kindness leads me to repentance.
God recently revealed hardness in my heart for a student regardless of how adorable she is. I’m sorry to say, but her behavior annoyed me. A lot. God gently pointed it out as I was studying the book of Matthew. As I confessed and repented, God grew my heart to love this student and He provided wisdom to support her learning. This student’s behavior hasn’t changed much, but my heart has. My heart has changed to better love and serve this young learner.
This is the good news of Jesus. He has come to save us from our sin that stands on the path of joy urging us forward. He has come to bring joy in our challenges and uncertainties of life. These challenges and uncertainties reveal our need for Jesus, and provide the perfect opportunity for us to experience Him as our Savior, Lord, and Messiah to a greater measure. The good news is Jesus has come into our lives.
I need You to meet me this Christmas season. Breath afresh into my heart who You are again. You know my life, challenges, and troubles. Open my heart to You. I need Your help and wisdom. I need You. I want more of You this Christmas. Please show me where I need to repent of my sin. Thank You for Your mercy. Thank You for meeting me today.