Happy New Year!
Are you happy that 2020 is over? Are you able to think of anything good that happened in 2020? I would much rather reflect on the good things than the bad. Some good things that happened for me was that I bought a new house and my son, Jarrett, graduated from high school. Both of those events have brought me joy. I hope that all of you have something from 2020 that brought you joy.
Many of us aren’t happy. There are many days I don’t feel happy at all. But Jesus never wanted us to be happy. He never said that. He didn’t want us to be unhappy either, but happiness was never what Jesus focused on. He wanted more for us. The Bible offers joy, not happiness. Expecting to be happy all the time completely neglects the fact that life is pretty hard. There are times I don’t even know if I can make it to the next day. You will be rejected. You will fail. You will go through hardships and struggles, and you will never be 100% happy. You are going to suffer and suffer a lot.
Just look at Jesus’ life. When his friend Peter denied him, his friend Judas betrayed him, and the Romans nailed him to a cross, he accepted it and let them do it. This doesn’t mean you should simply let things just happen to you. But if you’re unhappy, it means that what you’re going through is normal and doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with you. Just because Jesus was God, didn’t mean he didn’t suffer. Jesus knows something that we often neglect these days: life stinks, almost all the time except for a few savoring moments. Jesus never said don’t be happy, but he never said to be happy either. When he said to love your neighbor, that meant that even if you don’t like someone and are having a horrible day, it’s still on you to treat people with respect and like you would want to be treated. You’re not going to feel fulfilled about yourself by seeking happiness, making money or having people like you – no, you feel fulfilled by you, and if you believe in God, you feel fulfilled by God and acting like a follower of God.
No person feels good all the time. The point of faith is that you get something a lot greater than happiness. You get a feeling of exceptional meaning and purpose knowing that you gave everything you could to others even when you didn’t feel like it. I work hard and to be honest, I don’t always like my jobs in the moment. I sometimes feel like I’m doing a horrible job at meeting deadlines, or preparing lessons, or rushing through the cares of a resident, or lacking at spending quality time with my family, but I always finish the day feeling like I gave everything I could on that day. And perhaps that’s how we should focus on feeling every single day – like we did our best and gave it our all, even if we felt like it wasn’t enough to make us happy. That’s how we’re going to find meaning above happiness…and joy.
A special thank you to the 7th grade students for your participation in the Advent services for the month of December. You did a fantastic job in helping us to celebrate Advent to spiritually prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas.
We hope you enjoyed the virtual Christmas program. Thank you to the 5th graders who read the Christmas story to us and acted out the scenes. And thank you to the families that submitted answers to the questions. And a HUGE thank you to Kristin for putting it all together! It will be something that can be watched and treasured for years to come.
Classes resume on Sunday, January 3rd, 2021 at 10:15am. (At the time this article was written, it was yet to be determined if classes will meet all together in the sanctuary or in separate classrooms.)
We encourage the students to bring an offering each week. While no student is required to bring an offering, we want to teach children that giving is part of Christian life. This offering goes right back to our Family Education program or to a charity. It helps provide the curriculum, Bibles, catechisms, music, supplies, snacks, and many other things needed to ensure the children enjoy attending Sunday school each week. It helps in our mission to bring God’s Word into the lives of each student.
When the children are not able to give a monetary offering, we ask them to offer a prayer, write down a good deed, ask God for help, or share any other thoughts they’d like to with God and put it in their offering envelope. This makes it possible for all of them to participate in the offering.
The Family Education committee meets the first Wednesday of the month at 6:00pm.
Please feel free to join us or contact us with ideas or concerns.
May the Lord give you love that warms your heart, hope that lights your way, and joy that fills your home this day and through the year!
God Bless You,
Family Education Director