This post was written by Ana Zugheri, a member of the INCM Blog team.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
“In this world you will have trouble…” Don’t we know it! Can I get an Amen? Or two? This year, we have certainly experienced trouble, to one degree or another. Whether it’s been in a personal way or within our communities. Those fascinating stories that our grandmas have told us about strange times they lived through suddenly do not seem so crazy or unbelievable, do they? We’re living some of those crazy stories now.
I am sure I am not the only one who pulled out the Christmas decorations a little early this year to bring out the joy that comes with the season. There is always that excitement that Christmas decorations bring, especially to us, children’s ministry people. So much justification for the use of glitter! And while it can be pretty tiring, as we prepare our Christmas programs, oh my goodness…all the cuteness!
Now, while I try to stay optimistic, as you are reading this, some of you may be thinking…Nope! Not here. (in a sarcastic tone) or I wish! (while rolling your eyes) This year is not even close to what we wanted it to be. What a heartache!
All the cuteness of our community celebrations may change to an awkward social distancing event, a Zoom meeting concert, or a simple Christmas activity take-home box for the children in our churches. Remember when we faced the sadness of canceling Easter celebrations at the beginning of the pandemic and the heartbreaking elimination of VBS in summer? All we hoped for was Christmas!
Well, I am here to tell you that Christmas is not canceled, postponed, or eliminated!
Advent Is here. The term Advent originates from Latin and means “coming;” so it is coming! Christmas is coming!
Jesus reminds us of all the hardship so that we can turn our attention to what it means to trust in him. “So that in me you may have peace,” Peace! Yes, please!
And with it, the peace of knowing that JESUS HAS OVERCOME THE WORLD. What an extraordinary opportunity we have. Four Sundays before Christmas Day we prepare our hearts for Jesus’ coming, and this week we focus on peace.
While we may have been looking forward to preparing our choir musicals, gift exchanges, and glitter tosses, I believe that this year a silent night, a holy night, and his heavenly peace will do all of us some good. But it might feel elusive because peace is not so easy to access when our newsfeed is filled with the stresses of the state of our world.
I took some time to help you, children’s ministry leader, to find some peace as you minister in this busy-Christmas-digital-ministry-and-live season.
Here are some action steps so that you can stop and know God’s peace today.
- Practice a daily quiet time. If you don’t think you have time, you need to find that time. Hearing from God daily will help you in the next three weeks of holidays. And, let’s be real, the rest of your life.
- Set limits to your daily routine. Remember you can’t do it all, and you are only one person. God will give you grace.
- Drink plenty of water, eat healthy food, and breathe. Take care of yourself.
- Find a relaxing technique that works for you. Maybe you need to take a candle-lit bath. Maybe you need time to read. Maybe you need a daily walk. Whatever you need to do to feel peace, and rest in God, do it.
- Unclutter your world. Create a minimalistic workspace. You might have craft supplies in boxes around your office for an upcoming take-home event, or piles of things you wait to sort in the new year, whatever the case, find a way to simplify. When it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind and can create a sense of calm.
- Call a ministry friend when you need help. Sometimes you need to process what you’re feeling when you’re in the stress of it all. Call another ministry leader friend. They will know what you’re feeling and encourage you.
- Delegate, accept, and let go. You have a lot on your plate and you can’t do it all. Find people in your church to help you get the details done and accept your limitations. Let God hold you when things don’t go as planned.
When we are living in Jesus’ peace, others will feel it, too. Let’s influence our ministry with the peace that surpasses all understanding! It is the remembrance of Jesus’ birth that brings Christmas to a full celebration. Call out to the Prince of Peace!
My prayer for you is that the Lord helps you embrace the changes and challenges this year is giving us. That you see them as opportunities to tell the Christmas story one more time in a new quiet way, where you can empower every parent to lead their children into a magnificent storytelling of Christmas. In a fun holy night, where you can inspire and provide tools to the children to act out for their families a memorable Christmas story. And in a heavenly peaceful way to free your volunteers of the hustle and bustle of December programming.
My advice: look forward to quieting down the voices of this world with HIS peaceful whisper. Claim it, practice it, and share it. Remember the leader sets the tone. Below are a few of my go-to verses when I am seeking His peace.
May the Lord bring you his peace and joy this Christmas!
Useful Bible Verses on peace:
- Colossians 3:15
- John 14:27
- Philippians 4:6-7
- 1 Peter 3:11
- Proverbs 12:20
Ana Zugheri is the current Director of Faith52, a “portable” Children’s Ministry, taking church to children that due to difficult living conditions can’t attend a church. Being born and raised in Mexico has brought her a tremendous opportunity to serve as a simultaneous translator in mission trips and ministry work. She loves serving along with her husband and two daughters.