Last week we spent time on the blog and through our Instagram series, Advent for Educators, identifying four practical practices for educators this Advent season. We talked through reading scripture, simplistic prayer, no phone while waiting, and creating a physical space for God. All of these practices are easily incorporated within a 5-10 minute time period, or involve taking something away (such as cell phones in the waiting) rather than creating a list of additional to-dos during what is, for some, the busiest season of the year. It is my hope that, by beginning to cultivate intentional daily rhythms, we will commune with God in new ways that lead to our revival, restoration, and the revelation of God with us and for us in this space.
Aside from the concepts of revival, restoration, and revelation, each week in Advent also aligns to a different Advent theme. Week one emphases hope, and week two begins an exploration of peace. This week, we will explore each of these concepts as they relate to the educator and lead to our own personal revival and restoration after a long nine months of pandemic teaching.
Please note that even if you are not an educator, there is a place for you here! Although we are utilizing examples from an educational perspective and assessing situations from a teacher or administrator lens, these ideas apply to all of us as leaders right now, whether we are leaders in the classroom, in our households, in our churches or among our extended family and friends. I hope you will join me as we dig deeper into what it means to live in hope and in peace while also living in the waiting.
Hope and What the Bible says About it
The first week of Advent emphasizes the message of hope. If you are an educator during this pandemic like me, you are probably consistently longing for a renewal of hope as we end what, for many of us, has been the most difficult season in our professional lives. The lack of leadership from a state level has left many of us feeling helpless to make the right decision with distorted representations of facts in the media and backlash from parents and families regardless of the stance we take. We teeter between providing high-quality instruction and keeping our students and staff physically and mentally safe. There seems to be no clear path forward and no right (although definitely a clearly wrong) response.
Where do we find hope when so many are sick? When so many are suffering? When we are missing our students and staff and also praying for their safety and well-being during this time? After futile attempts to lean on state and local leadership, on myself and on my team, I know that the only way to persevere through this process is to find my hope in something and someone greater than myself.
Throughout my longings, quiet reflection and straight up rebellion against God's plans, here is what I determined the Bible says about hope:
It can be difficult to have hope in the waiting. In the waiting for the birth of Jesus, for the second coming of Jesus, and in the waiting in the space between. Perhaps this pandemic more than ever is preparing our hearts for the good news to come. Perhaps Jesus is calling us to meet him in this place.
As we linger in the paradox between the here and the not-yet-here, how can we carry a sense of peace in our chaotic and tired souls?
Peace and what the bible says about it
Building off of week one's theme of hope, the second week of Advent emphasizes peace. From a biblical perspective, this week focuses on the peace that Christ brings over our circumstances, our desires, and our futures. As we linger in the paradox between the here and the not-yet-here, how can we carry a sense of peace in our chaotic and tired souls? When so much remains to be determined, how can we become stewards of peace in our own hearts so that we can share that peace with those around us who seem to need it most? As educators, our impact is far-reaching. How can we spread peace among the weary this week?
Here is what the Bible says about peace:
As educators, we are often responsible for cultivating calm and bringing gentle peace to our environments and those who share that space, whether virtually or in person. We often have little to pour from our cups this time of year. How can incorporating the aforementioned Advent practices create a well of abundance overflowing from within us that naturally spills out onto others? How can this abundance lead to far-reaching peace?
As we move deeper into this season, feel free to revisit last week's post and download a summary of the four practices to guide you in this work. I look forward to communing with you in this space.
Linger a Little Longer:
1. Which of the four practices has been the easiest for you to implement over the course of the past week? Where are you struggling?
2. Consider what the Bible says about hope. Where are you persevering well in your practice of hope? What verse can you meditate on this next week to support cultivating a spirit of hope in your soul?
3. How do you currently feel regarding the theme of peace? What is the state of your soul? How do you feel about the responsibility of being a peacemaker and a person who spreads peace and calm to those around you each day?