Well, everyone, the most wonderful time of the year is almost here, and in no time at all, it’ll be Christmas. One of the things I love most about this time of year is that there is a real sense of peace on earth in the air. I feel like people are kinder, more generous, and a little more gracious towards others. (That may or may not still be true in lines at the mall or in holiday traffic, but I’m choosing to ignore that at the moment.) And generally speaking, we’re a little more aware of the people in our lives and how those relationships are a gift to us.
You are a gift to your small group. A gift to your few. A gift to their parents and guardians. I hope you’re aware of that, and I hope that truth is communicated to you and often. But there’s another truth that you may not always remember.
Your small group is a gift to you too. Your few are a gift to you. Their parents and guardians? Yes, they’re a gift to you too. Every week, a handful of kids or students sit around you, and they give you the gift of their time. The gift of their attention. The gift of their affection. The gift of their amusement when you tell a joke. Parents and guardians give you the gift of their trust when they leave their children with you.
This holiday season may be an extra busy one with small group Christmas parties, gift exchanges, and caroling. You may be spending a lot of time at holiday concerts and Christmas recitals. You may even feel some of the pressure of making the holidays feel a little brighter because, for someone in your group, Christmas is a stressful and even painful time. But as tempting as it is to look at this season and see it as a busy time full of things you have to do, I want to encourage you to look at it a little differently this year. Your small group benefits so much from your time and attention. But you benefit from theirs too. And when your group sits around you, remember that their presence in your life is a gift because you’re learning from them too. Learning what it means to serve others, to love well, to be patient, and to listen.
We spend a lot of time reminding you that you are a gift to your small group. And we do that because you are. Small group leaders like you are our heroes. But this Christmas, we encourage you to remember that your few—however young, however old, however loud, however disengaged, however challenging, whatever their family structure looks, whatever baggage they bring with them, whoever their parents or guardians are—they are a gift to you. And they are a good gift because the Giver is good.