Hope of the World

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This week’s entry is not my typical blog, but because it’s Christmas, and at Christmas you tell the truth – so here goes.

Many hours have gone into studying the next generation and figuring out how to best prepare them for the future. I have many friends who have devoted their lives to teaching, student leadership, or youth ministry and know many parents who want to “get it right” when it comes to raising their kids. However, we are doing the next generation a huge disservice if we only teach them how to be

smart,

well-adjusted,

leaders,

workplace ready,

hard-working,

well-rounded,

self-confident,

generous,

and revolutionaries.

While these are great character traits and qualities to possess, these in a life without purpose results in emptiness. But Christmas offers a purpose, a purpose who came as a baby and now lives as a Savior who desires to not only change the course of the world but our individual lives.  And no matter how many great things a generation accomplishes, without the Hope of the world, all that matters is lost. And while the above characteristics are valued and much needed, they will not weather one through the storms of life, build successful families, or start revolutions. Because during hardships of life, being smart doesn’t offer hope. Trials of life need more than a self-confident personality to cope. Being well-rounded doesn’t leave a legacy for generations to come. This generation desperately needs to have “this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”

 A couple of weeks ago, a coworker said to me, “I have Santa and Elf on the Shelf covered, but I need to know how to add a little Jesus to my son’s Christmas.” At first I was taken aback but then encouraged because shouldn’t we all, no matter where we are on the journey, ask how we can have more Jesus in our Christmas. After giving some practical ideas, my advice was to not only add Jesus to Christmas but to her son’s everyday life. Why is it that each December we sing “let every heart prepare him room” then fail to continue to prepare room for Christ the rest of the year? If you have never had spiritual conversations with your children or young people in your realm of influence, Christmas offers a perfect opportunity to do so.

 The next generation, more than any other, needs the Hope of the world which comes through a Savior. Poverty, the threat of nuclear war, economic hardship, and terrorism cannot be solved by young people who rise up for a cause if they fail to bow a knee to the One who offers salvation and hope. And while I believe the next generation is marked for greatness and will leave an incredible mark on the world, we are selling them short if we fail to instruct our children and students in faith. 

So our greatest gift as parents, teachers, and leaders is to openly discuss the Hope of the world with our students. Ask your child what the true meaning of Christmas is and see what he or she has to say. Some of us have more liberty than others to do this with the students we work with and serve. And while I am not at school reading the Bible and giving altar calls, I do take the Hope of the world with me each day. If your student is in my class, I have individually prayed that he or she knows the real meaning of Christmas. Do you have children, grandchildren, students, neighbors, or friends who you can encourage in their faith this season?

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