I am the Good Shepherd; the Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. John 10.11
The symbol of the lamb and the shepherd’s staff reminds us of the shepherds in the field near Bethlehem, who were the first people to receive the good news of Jesus’ birth. We are reminded too, that Jesus is our Good Shepherd, Who makes us like down in green pastures, leads us beside the still waters and Whose rod and staff comfort us. This Good Shepherd gave His life for us, His sheep and lambs, that we may live.
PRAYER: Good Shepherd, keep us always in Your flock. Amen.
Matthew (see his other story) had another classic moment in Kindergarten. This was a five year old with a mind of his own.
Our school was practising for the Christmas concert and the principal decided that the Kindergarten class would use lummi sticks while they were singing Christmas songs. Lummi stick are hardwood cylindrical sticks and they are used as percussive/musical instruments. They are generally struck against one another, and are frequently used in musical education to teach rhythm.
Everyone in my class was very excited about working with the lummi sticks – except Matthew. He seemed very disconnected from the activity. He wasn’t very cooperative during practice times and he definitely wasn’t his normal, enthusiastic, outspoken self. I asked him a couple of times if there was a problem but he just shrugged his shoulders. The plan was that the entire class would sing two songs together, using their lummi sticks but in between choruses, each child would walk up to the microphone and talk about his/her favourite part of Christmas.
The night of the concert finally arrived, all the children were dressed up and the room was humming with excitement. Matthew looked very handsome in his little black suit but he was very subdued. I asked his parents about his attitude but they had no idea why Matthew wasn’t excited about the evening.
The concert started with the Kindergarten students’ presentation so the children were already lined up on stage, ready to go. The songs were sung, the lummi sticks were hit together and each child confidently shared their special Christmas moments with the audience. Matthew just happened to be last to share and he was supposed to talk about putting the star on the top of his family’s Christmas tree.
Matthew walked up to the microphone and he was silent for about ten seconds. His eyes scanned the room and suddenly, he threw up his arms and blurted out what was really on his heart.
“I just want to say that I never played with lummi sticks on my birthday. This is Jesus’ birthday – it’s REALLY special and well…I think we really need to party.”
Matthew had a grin on his face that went from one ear to another, his classmates giggled and the audience clapped. No need to finish the song. No need to hit lummi sticks together. Matthew had made his point.
Christmas is the celebration of Christ’s birth – it’s not a magical holiday for gift giving – it’s not a winter festive time and it’s not just about singing Christmas songs and playing with lummi sticks. Every year, our culture seems to water down the true meaning of Christmas…especially in the education system.
It’s Christ’s birthday. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He doesn’t change and Christmas will always be about His birth…and we do need to truly celebrate this miracle.