January 26—February 1 is National Lutheran Schools Week. The theme – Joy:Fully Lutheran – is based upon I Thessalonians 5:16-24. Here at Trinity Lutheran Church Preschool we are focusing on verses 16-18:
Be joyful always,
Give thanks in all circumstances
for this is God’s will for you
in Christ Jesus.
When you ask children, and many adults, to define the word “joy,” usually “happy” comes to mind. But can we really be happy always? In all circumstances? No! The true meaning of joy, specifically Christian joy, is this:
a good feeling in the soul, produced by the Holy Spirit, as he causes us to see the beauty of Christ in the Word and in the world.
Even during sad times, we can recognize that Christ is at work, that he has a plan for us, that he will continually bestow grace upon us despite life’s circumstances.
As preschool educators, our challenge is to teach these verses in I Thessalonians (like all things we teach) in a concrete way. Our message during Lutheran Schools Week will be J.O.Y. – Jesus first. Others second. You last.
Jesus first looks like reading the Bible, going to church, and being kind to people just like Jesus shows us in the Bible. Jesus first sounds like singing praises to him, sharing the good news with your friends and family, and praying.
Others second looks like sharing toys with your friends and listening to your friends when they are talking. Others second sounds like “Would you like to play?” and “I’m sorry you’re having a bad day! How can I help?”
You last looks like waiting patiently for others to go before you and putting the interests of others before your desires. You last sounds like telling the truth even when you don’t want to and admitting when you are wrong.
By placing Jesus first, Others second, and You last, we can get to the end goal – it feels like JOY! May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope (Romans 15:13).
In the JOY of His love,
Jo Ann Emerson, Preschool Director