Saturday, December 31, 2016

Be a Shepherd

A few weeks ago I had the honor of sharing part of the Christmas story with the youngest attendees at church.  While a bit ill prepared, I had the best time sharing with these tiny people one of the best parts of the story that is certainly applicable to our lives in 2016 (almost 2017).  And though I'm not sure if the 2, 3, and 4 year olds took away the deeper meaning I did from the shepherds' story, I left feeling more festive than I had this whole holiday season.

You see, this year, especially the second half of the year, has been really tough.  I guess because I grew up a bit privileged, perhaps a tiny bit spoiled and completely used to getting my way.  That said, my heart is big, and I would do anything to help, as long as I have advanced notice.  Changes in schedules, changes in surroundings, changes in procedures mess me up in a big way.  Those shepherds, they didn't really have advanced notice.  Angels just showed up and told him that the Messiah had been born, and upon this discovery, they didn't just muse over the good news and rejoice in their inner circle.  They packed up, went to Bethlehem and saw that baby. When they left, they rejoiced and shared with EVERYONE that Jesus had been born (this part of the story, I'm sure most of my little listeners understood).

Being a shepherd wasn't the most glamorous job back in the day and herding stinky animals probably was tough.  I feel a bit like I'm herding wild animals for my day job. It's not so glamorous either. It's easy to get lost in the daily grind, but I keep chugging along. In Bible times, shepherds weren't seen as valued or high class in society, but God sent the angels to them.  And they did not disappoint, they spread the good news of the savior's birth. When I first entered the teaching field with hopes of changing the world, I wasn't so wearied.  Herding classes of children that each year bring new and different challenges for several different administrations with different expectations has left me somewhat jaded.  But if I see myself like God sees me, and see the great big things He has done, then I can share good news too (not just that stuff in the common core).

All this said, if you asked me a couple days ago what I wanted to resolute in the new year, I would have said "manage my time better" or "eat healthier, drink less Diet Mountain Dew" or maybe even a "stay more active." Truth is, these are things I try to do most of the time, I just slack off sometimes, and when I do, it's more for my mental stability than anything.  Sometimes, I need a brain break with Candy Crush, Chick-fil-a has some pretty healthy options these days and they don't even serve Pepsi products. What I want to do, more than anything, is to be more like a shepherd.  Instead of focusing on my own circumstances that I may not be the happiest with, I want to share the good news.  I serve an amazing God.  My greatest blessings could never be wrapped up, but warm my heart by holding my hands. A town that I used to just reside in, has allowed us to put down roots.  I have friends that I can call and they would drop everything to just help.  My family has grown this past year by two tiny feet and two huge blue eyes and being an auntie is pretty special. There are so many immeasurable blessings that I don't deserve, but I do not take for granted. If you ask me how I'm doing, not in spite of anything, but because of everything, I'm just fine. I have good news to share. My resolution this year: Be a shepherd.