It is a time of the season when we all become a little more self-reflective of ourselves and the world around us. Many are looking forward to Christmas. Billy Graham used to say that unless you feed your soul, it will become weak. Graham was right. Christmas is a time when we feed our souls.
We recognize that mental health is an essential aspect of our general well-being. If we are honest and willing to be vulnerable, we all struggle with harmful tendencies and failure to practice self-care. We need to take care of ourselves and nurture our bodies and our souls. Too many educators put off doctor visits because of the inconvenience of a school schedule. This does not serve them, their families, or the school well in the long term.
For a lot of people, faith serves as a guiding light on how to navigate the world in which we live and how to confront the various challenges that they face in life. It provides them with the strength and courage to overcome tough times, and it enables them to make the right decisions, even when others try to influence them otherwise.
According to wisdom, we should be the ones who shape our own lives instead of being mere copies of other people. However, we often choose to adapt to fit in with others. Life is a precious gift that some people fail to appreciate. Our talents and abilities are also gifts, and how we choose to use them is our way of giving back to the world.
Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see. I feel fortunate to work alongside some incredible educators who make a positive impact every day on the lives of these children. It's sad to think that many people leave this world without ever sharing their dreams or gifts with others.
Sometimes, even when things seem to be going well in our lives, we may still feel a sense of emptiness. During such moments, we might feel like we can never be truly content and at peace with ourselves, which leads us to constantly search for more material possessions. However, we all know that we cannot take our possessions with us when we pass away.
I am thankful that God did not just put me on this earth and wish me good luck. He did not abandon me. There is no better time to remember this truth than at Christmas when we focus on giving to others. It is not about material possessions. Because when we become too reliant on our possessions, we let them control us. In doing so, we lose our freedom.
The singer Bono said: “I believe in the poetic genius of a creator who would choose to express such unfathomable power as a child born in straw poverty.” The greatest gift we ever receive from God is the most extraordinary: Grace. Grace has been there all along. Grace finds goodness in everything. The story of the Birth of Jesus is the cornerstone of Christian theology
As the season progresses, many of us tend to become more introspective and conscious of the world around us. Christmas is eagerly anticipated by many of us as it reminds us that there is still goodness among us. This year, we all need Christmas more than ever to renew our hope and faith.
Our lives bear witness to God's love. Grace transforms ugliness. God loves us as we are, not as we should be. God hears every cry and sees every tear. This year, I reflect on that truth more than ever before. Michael Bassey Johnson astutely points out: “Education will teach you ephemeral things. God will teach you wonders.” I am amazed by His Grace. We need Christmas in our lives.
As we enter 2024, remember that it's never too late to set new goals or dream new dreams. With grace, the best is yet to come.
JC Bowman is the Executive Director of Professional Educators of Tennessee, a non-partisan teacher association headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee.