“The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.” (Luke 2:20, NIV2)
One year, when I was teaching a class of ten-year-olds, we were given a challenge. Each class were given a Christmas song, and students had to make it special for the Christmas concert. The class with the best performance would win first place, which consisted of a free pizza party.
My kids were excited, and they immediately worked on it with fervent zeal. They practiced and practiced. All I had to do was to encourage them and give them tips on how to improve. They were so eager!
During dress rehearsal, they did so well that the principal told me I should go on Broadway. Maybe she wanted to get rid of me? “Truly”, I told her, “My students did all the planning.”
It was no wonder that they won the first Christmas concert, hands down. They were so superb!
The second Christmas concert, though, even though they had performed better than ever before (One of my guys finally smiled during the concert!), another class beat them. Knowing kids, I expected the next day to be filled with sadness and words like: “It is so unfair.” I was surprised when I met them that morning, for almost all of them expressed: “It makes sense another class won. They needed encouragement as well!”
Wow! That sure made me think that way too often in my past, I have wallowed in self-pity. And for what? I don’t even remember now!
That day in class, hope rose in my heart. When kids care for each other, we can truly expect a better future!
The shepherds in our story also came back filled with hope, so much so that they couldn’t help but praise the Lord. They, too, had encountered a child, no ordinary child, a special child that would bring us a bright future, thanks to that fact that Jesus would willingly die on a cross for us so that we could be reunited with God. He rose on the third day, assuring us that our future was guaranteed if we accepted His gift.
Kids can bring us hope, but the One born in Bethlehem outshone all of them. The Savior came to our neighborhood to bring us hope.
(To access the entire “Hope on the Horizon” devotional series, please click here.)