Monday, January 23, 2012

A Picture Worth a Thousand Words

“Let the children come to me…For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14

“For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and by him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of his blood on the cross.” Colossians 1:19, 20

The month of December is probably my favorite time of the year to be a Lutheran school teacher. It is a month filled with anticipation as we prepare to celebrate Jesus’ birthday. There are many fun projects planned for the students. The children are filled with excitement as they make gifts for their parents and prepare for the Christmas program. The teachers are joyfully looking forward to a little vacation and some much needed family time.

While this time of year is full of enjoyable activities, it can also be a very stressful time. Teachers are also parents who struggle to find time to take care of their responsibilities at school and also take care of the details at home involved in celebrating the holidays. The student’s excitement is barely containable at times, and leads to lack of impulse control.

When we were conducting preschool program practice in the church, one little boy was struggling with listening and behaving as expected. After being reprimanded a few times, he sat down on the floor and put his head in his hands and cried. The cream carpeting in our chancel contains a maroon cross leading directly to the altar. It just so happens that this little boy sat down squarely in the center of the cross. The other teacher and I were so in awe of the sight this created, that I snapped a picture with my phone. It is truly one of those pictures worth a thousand words.

I keep this picture as a reminder to myself of the sanctuary found in the cross of Christ. How often do I feel stressed to my breaking point, frustrated with my failings, or misunderstood and alone? How often do I seek solace in venting to a sympathetic friend, in a tasty treat, or in a trip to the gym, instead of in the arms of my Savior? I foolishly try to control and salve my feelings. Instead, I should humbly cry out to Jesus like a child who has reached his frustration point, needing someone stronger than himself to help. Christ lovingly stretched out His arms for me on the cross, rescuing me from sin’s evil grasp. When I feel broken, His outstretched arms are the only source of true peace. Other things may provide temporary consolation for my bruised soul, but only the cross of Christ provides eternal comfort.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for making us your children through baptism. Help us to come to you, as needy children, finding all the love and strength that we need in this life. Thank you for making an eternal home for us in heaven.

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