“A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious light!” (Placide Cappeau)
It really feels like a weary world, with many hard things in our school family, troubles in the world, COVID, death, illness, cancer, and more. We had a paper chain in my class to count down the days until Christmas, and each link had something to do, a song to sing, or some activity. One day the link said, “Do you know someone who might be sad at Christmastime? Is there anything you might do?”
We talked about hard things and sad times and what we can do for people going through these times. The children said we could pray for them, we could make cards, or we could give a gift. Jason said, “But we still have hope.” I was blessed by his response, and have been thinking about hope. Jason knows about hard times. He has been telling us about a family friend who had a brain tumor and recently died.
Recently I’ve been to viewings three Thursdays in a row—for a school janitor, a colleague’s mother, and then the father and husband of two of our teachers. A couple school grandparents also died recently. In October, one of my students fell in the gym and was taken to the ER and admitted to the hospital with a concussion. This was scary for all of us, as she was not responding well at first.
I had to talk with my class about the death of the teacher’s father. (I first said he passed away, and then realized I needed to use a different term. One of the children later told me she used to think passed away meant you were driving and you passed something.) I related this to something they would know about—the death of a pet. One of the children had just told me her kitten had died. We talked about being sad, and that it’s okay to be sad. We sorrow, but not as those who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). There is that word hope again! We are sad because we miss them. I talked to the children before they had art class, thinking that art would be a comforting time for them.
I’ve realized it’s important for the children to DO something to help in handling these hard things. We made cards for the girl with the concussion. We made cards for the teacher whose father died. We talked about appropriate things to write, and it was good for the children to think through that. We pray for people in difficult situations. I was blessed with the children’s listing of people we should pray for, and of how they remember that. Jason prayed for them in his lunch prayer. I prayed for one of the families in the morning of the funeral, but in my end-of-day prayer, I didn’t think of it. As soon as I said, “Amen,” one of the children said, “You forgot to pray for Miss Lynn!”
Some other things that help us deal with the hard things are writing or drawing, doing journaling, reading books, Bible verses, doing a Bible lesson on heaven or having a lesson on hope (I’m working on that one!)
I have been meditating on the importance of praise, even in the hard times, so we are singing a song of praise each morning with our devotions. I told the class today that they can choose the praise songs. The choice for today was “Joy to the World” so we praised God to start our day.
CONTRIBUTOR: Arlene Birt
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