When I try to prepare and teach the youth the true meaning of Christmas, I get a little frustrated. I know my heart and mind tells me, to never give up, no matter what obstacles arise.
This Advent season, my goal is for our youth to embrace and learn what the term “The Reason for the Season” truly means. Frustration sets in because I am trying to break a long-standing and ongoing cycle with our youth today. For too many youth today, it is all about what they can get for Christmas -- not what they can do to help others, but what gifts will come their way. Many times while working with my youth group, Christ’s name is never mentioned during the Advent and Christmas seasons. They talk a lot, but mostly about where they are going to visit during Christmas and what gifts they had better get!
Most of the kids I work with are from middle and low income families. The youth ask their parents for outrageous gifts that their parents cannot afford. I try to teach them that it is better to give than to receive. They give me that look like: “Are you serious or from another world?”
Actually, I am from another world. I like showing short movies or films showing people from developing countries (3rd World countries) where all they’d want for Christmas is to have clean water and a chance to have an education. I do this for our North American youth, to show them how much they are truly blessed.
When we were at the last Bishop Roundup, we heard a missionary worker tell of her time spent in Haiti. She stated that most of the kids may have the chance to eat every other day. And with extreme cases, families may only eat twice per week. Many people were crying when she went over this part of her trip. I was one of them. Tears were flowing from my face.
I will continue to teach kids about Christ and his love for us. I will never give up, no matter what. I will shout it, sing it, text it, write it or just do whatever it takes to let our youth know that they must be prepared for Christ. They must have Hope because God’s promise will come true and they must have Joy in their hearts, because we serve a loving God who truly loves us, no matter what.
The Reason for the Season is all about Christ. God is our light out of the darkness.
Grace United Methodist Church
Youth Group Leader and Safe & Sacred Trainer
Loving God, Loving Neighbor