As we enter the holiday season, especially with Thanksgiving just around the corner, we are likely being reminded whether it is by family, friends, or the media to be thankful.
I often think that in the hustle and bustle of the season while we are cleaning our houses in preparation for company, making lists of the gifts and supplies we must purchase, decorating our homes for the holidays, and so much more. All the while, we are still working normal hours or attending school, and this is often just a well-repeated phase, and not always something on which we actually take the time to reflect. Not to mention as Christmas rapidly approaches, we are constantly bombarded with advertisements trying to sell us the newest toys and gadgets that remind us of all of the things we wish we had, rather than reminding us of all of the blessings we have already been given.
This year, as I try to reflect on the many God-given blessings I have, it is easy to begin the list thinking about family, friends, my home, a car to get around, etc. but then I really started thinking about how blessed I am to be able to work at a Lutheran school. Though it is easy for me throughout the year to quickly be overwhelmed by the lessons and activities I must prepare, the mounds of grading I must complete, the many emails I must send, and everything else that comes along with teaching, I truly am blessed to be able to do all of this in an environment where we can freely share our faith and encourage one another daily to rely not on our own strength, but on the power of the Holy Spirit working through each of us.
As a math teacher I often find it difficult to integrate sharing my faith in the midst of lesson plans about factoring, trigonometry, or taking derivatives. However at Concordia we are not limited to sharing our faith merely during class time. We are able to enjoy worshiping together at Chapel once a week, meeting with a small student-lead devotion group weekly, attending our own small faculty devotion groups each month, not to mention conversations we can have with others throughout the day. I even have the opportunity this year of meeting with a small group of our student Koinonia leaders each week as they prepare to lead their own devotion groups.
It is through these meetings that I am able to take the time to share my faith and encourage students to do likewise as they go on to lead their own groups. More importantly I hope that our school’s focus on sharing the Gospel with one another in these various ways encourages our students and faculty to be able to share the good news with their communities outside of our school.
As students graduate and move on to new endeavors many will likely be part of environments at colleges or in the work force that no longer encourage or take the time to focus on sharing and strengthening one’s faith. My hope and prayer is that our students and faculty are able to see the blessing of a Christ-centered education so we can adequately use this time together to encourage one another in the faith, so each of us can not only be strengthened in our faith, but can also go out and bless others by sharing the good news of Christ no matter where we may serve.