Working for the church, I am required (required?) to attend a lot of Christmas parties. (Hey, stop groaning. Somebody has to do it!) I certainly have no complaints since the food is great and the people are pleasant. But, there are parties — and there are parties. Several years ago I attended a Christmas party for teachers at an elementary school where my wife, Mell, used to work. I just want to make one little comment about school teachers.
They really know how to throw a party!
We opened silly gifts and sang Christmas carols. But, then we were split into small groups to see who could decorate the best Christmas tree. That doesn't sound so wild, does it? Did I tell you the actual tree was a person selected from our group? One poor teacher had garland wrapped around her body and tinsel hanging everywhere. An angel was perched on her head and three candy canes were sticking out of her mouth while two more were hanging from her glasses. Please pause a moment and try to picture this in your mind.
I had no idea school teachers could be so much fun?
I say this because schoolteachers can be intimidating — something about grades, stern looks and being sent to the principal. (Or is it principle? What did my English teacher say? I will never be a principal because I have no principles? Whatever!) To this day, I cringe upon seeing red pens. Every teacher used them in my days of school. Red means you've done something wrong on your paper and is usually followed by an X or F, which always means — bad grade for a bad boy! (How do I know this? Don't ask.)
After marrying a teacher and being around her colleagues, I've discovered school teachers are actually normal human beings. (What a surprise!) Most are extremely dedicated to their profession and work hard at being good role models for their class. After a hard few months of trying to teach and keep control of twenty to thirty screaming children, I understand why they need to unwind.
When the timing and the occasions are right, these teachers know how to have fun. But, isn't this the way it should be — for teachers, for preachers, and for all of us?
Paul sent this reminder to one of his churches:
Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to safeguard your faith (Philippians 3:1 NLT).
People who believe in God have a serious task to do. We have been called to witness to the ends of the earth. One part of our witness needs to include an ability to give joy. In other words, we stern, stuffy Christians need to laugh, not just occasionally, but often and enthusiastically.
Laughter has a way of lightening the load and reducing tension. Laughter increases the production of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers. Humor can also be an excellent way to break down barriers. A willingness to laugh at yourself often allows others the chance to feel comfortable around you, which invariably leads to more opportunities to be a witness for God.
Final Thought: "You're 76 years old!" A little girl said to her grandma after reading her driver's license.
"That's exactly right!" said the proud grandma.
"Grandma, you also made an F in sex!"
Oops! There are those grades again! Now, try to tell me you don't feel just a little better!
May God bless you throughout the Christmas season and may 2010 be your best year ever!
As we approach the time many celebrate Christ's birthday, I offer prayers for those involved in conflicts around the world. I pray for those still struggling to find jobs in the midst of our financial crisis. I pray for peace only God can give. I pray for courage to be a witness for Jesus wherever you and I go. I pray for love and understanding before judgment and condemnation. I pray for joy in the midst of hardship. I pray to be a light shining in the darkness. May God give you and me the true spirit of Christmas this year and prepare our heart for service in 2010.
Special Note: I wrote this for two reasons ...
- As a tribute to my wife Mell and her extraordinary dedication as an elementary school teacher.
- I also wrote it to encourage an atmosphere of joy and laughter as we get ready for Christmas.