Element 1: In the beginning we find sweet Mary, a young girl in a culture where an unwanted pregnancy was extremely taboo and Joseph, who knew accepting this pregnancy could cause him great distress.
Hear the comments amongst their friends in Bethlehem:
“Can you believe Joseph is really going to marry her?”
“Who do you think the father is?”
“You know, I always thought she was a little vulgar.”
The comments went on and on, however, this young couple remained loyal to each other and firm in their convictions.
Lesson 1: Following your calling may alienate you from people, but life-changers remain focused on the mission. Education is hard. Everyone has a comment. Be positive and humble.
Element 2: One of my favorite people in the Christmas story is Mary’s cousin, Elizabeth. WHAT A WOMAN! She remained faithful to God and waited for a child. Her husband actually laughed at her when she told him she was having a baby. (He was muted). Her child, John the Baptist, made the way for the Lord.
Lesson 2: Sometimes our dreams and visions take a lifetime to be fulfilled, however, our faith reaps a great harvest. Believe in children even when people laugh at you. The most difficult situations can lead to the greatest joys. Doing the impossible is fun!
Element 3: Birthing a child in a modern, lovely hospital with a great staff was difficult. I can’t even imagine the experience in a stable with a teenage husband, a cow, goat, and birds. This precious couple was far from home, far from family, and far from any type of comforts.
Lesson 3: Dreams sometimes mean you have to step out of your comfort zone and be uncomfortable. This may mean learning something you are uncomfortable learning, teaching in a school you do not like or teaching the very unlovable and difficult. Birthing a new promise is hard and usually happens in hard places.
Element 4: When my daughter was born, the moment between the doctor proclaiming she was here and her first cry seemed like eternity to me. I can’t imagine Mary and Joseph as they heard the voice of GOD cry for the first time. Did they grasp the potential? Do any of us grasp the potential of our children at the first cry?
Lesson 4: Children are promises of potential. Our main mission should be about assisting all children and their parents to find their potential. Our job is to assist in the development of the potential. Children are valuable.
Element 5: The angels showed up singing and praising GOD!
Lesson 5: Make a joyful noise! Stop whining and be excited about what God has put into your heart about your work. This is really hard sometimes, but a joyful noise is pleasant and opens up the heart. Open hearts are open to hear difficult truths.
Element 6: While the King Herod was in his palace looking around for the answers to an ancient riddle, the shepherds were minding their flocks in the midst of the fields. No one of “great importance” knew these men, but suddenly the Heavenly Host shows up and led them to the manger.
Lesson 6: The workers in the field are privy to the greatest revelations. I can’t express the importance of this lesson to educational leaders. Great teachers have so much to share about what works. They are masters of revelation.
Element 7: The Wise Men show up after the child was older to bring wonderful gifts. Interestingly enough, they went the other way home and ignored Herod.
Lesson 7: Share your gifts with the children regardless of the mandates. Each person has specific gifts and talents, which allows us to serve others. Our motivation increases when we work within our gifts.
Element 8: This one is to be continued at a later date as I am wrestling with an understanding, but Jesus goes on to live a life within a very tyrannical government. He was crucified.
Lesson 8: We have to do what we are called to do within the confines of government, yet without loosing our faith. Success may be painful, yet can make an eternal difference.
Merry Christmas to my fellow Christians. Happy Holidays to precious friends of all faiths. May each of you be filled with new reflections of your purpose and calling for a wonderful 2014.