Friday, December 18, 2015

Maybe Christmas Doesn't Come From a Store...

Maybe Christmas means a little bit more.  We watched the classic animated Grinch movie yesterday after our class party, and I paused at this Dr. Seuss quote. I told my students that this is absolutely one of my favorite holiday quotes.  I asked them what they thought it meant and we discussed for a bit. We talked about doing for others, about how there are times when you can't give people gifts even when they deserve it, but you can give them your love, your attention, and your respect.  That means so much more than monetary gifts.

The past few weeks, I have been spread thin. Between holiday plays, holiday parties, volunteering, and my own Christmas shopping, cards and preparations, I have been  so exhausted (not to mention the fact my 3 year old STILL DOESN'T SLEEP ALL NIGHT). It's easy to lose sight of the big picture.  You know, why we do all this-- to spread the good news, to celebrate the love of our God, the amazing birth of our savior. As a public school teacher, I don't blatantly profess my Christianity to my students, but I hope my school babies sense my love somehow. Whether they assume it's from my heart or from somewhere else.

A couple weeks ago, I got the opportunity to serve at an event at our church.  Families came, the kids played in snowball fights, inflatables, photo booths and got their faces painted, their bellies full of sweet treats and shopped for their moms and dads, all the while their mommies and daddies loaded their trunks with food and presents.  At the event, I saw one of Reagan and Anna's friends from daycare, and my heart was so full.  I still get all choked up thinking about seeing parents putting in those coveted Elsa bikes in their trucks. The next night, the same event took place at a venue close to my school, and when we watched the video at church on Sunday, I saw several familiar faces.  These faces weren't just ones I passed by in the mornings when I dropped the babies off.  These were faces I saw all school day long, in the midst of reading novels and learning long division.  These faces were the faces not of families who just needed a little help, these faces had names.  They were kids I knew so much better than just from a night of service at church.

In our daily lives, we may not realize that the people who are closest to us, are the ones that need the most help, or we might, but they may try our patience and we forget (remember, I am a teacher and kids are still kids) that there's more than what's on the surface; more than the preteen attitudes and lack of homework in their agendas. They need love, they need your patience (even though they try it), they just need to know you care. Without going into specific detail, this year more than ever, I have been so grateful for our blessings; more aware that there are families without.  Families that are doing the best they can.  Families that love their children just as much as we love ours, but their circumstances just aren't the same. They aren't able to make all the wishes from their kids' wishes lists come true.  They aren't even able to make sure their basic needs are met.  My prayer this holiday season is for them to be safe, to be happy and content with what they are given and for the new year to bring about abundant blessings for them.  Because after all, maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store, maybe Christmas perhaps, means a little bit more!