The Christmas Letter I Won’t Send ( but should?)
Dear Family and Friends,
I hope this holiday season finds you joyful and well, basking in the glow of a year of fond memories of time with loved ones, as well as of inspiring moments spent making a difference in this crazy world of ours.
I pray that your family is healthy. I know that many educators like me spend holidays fighting the myriad of germs that threaten to invade our bodies after being around germ-spreading little ones all day. Of course, you know that I wouldn’t trade “my kids” for anything. Despite spending many Christmas eves coughing and sneezing my head off, I still sleep peacefully, knowing that I have lived out my passion by being with these kids each day, often caring more than some of the people who perhaps can’t, due to the daily struggles they face.
So back to that making a difference part. So often it seems as though we believe that it takes a grand act to "make a difference." Maybe you went on that one week mission with your church, posted hundreds of pictures on Facebook, as we all applauded your generous and courageous spirit. I probably even clicked “like” and added an honest, inspired comment. Or maybe you sent in a donation to a local charity. Of course you can celebrate such a gift! I challenge myself, and all of us, to seize opportunities each and every day to share moments of kindness and generosity. You just never know when you may be giving someone exactly the words they need to "keep calm and carry on" in this very trying time.
When those holiday bell ringers seek my spare change on a cold winter’s night, I smile and say that I am a teacher, who devotes myself and my change each and every day through the time, care and my own “change” I spend on supplementing my classroom to make learning joyful. I give of myself all year round, 24 hours a day to this profession, as I spend nights dreaming of lesson ideas, ways to meet challenges with students, and worries about keeping my job. I know thousands of other teachers who similarly give of themselves thanklessly each day.
At this time of year, as many of us send those “family lists of accomplishment” letters, cleverly designed to make us feel like our lives are worth a darn, my heart is peaceful, knowing that despite the many frustrations and barriers in my profession, I am doing exactly what I was meant to do. I hope that as you reflect on your year, you celebrate those gifts you share each day, and also that you are following the call in your heart.
At this time of reflection and new beginnings, may you search your heart and check it twice. Are you on the path that brings you meaning and joy? How are YOU sharing your gifts with the world?