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Please bear with me... This will seem like a complaint at first. I promise it is not!
I have a confession to make. Not the kind where I need to go to the priest, although during Advent it is definitely a good time for that. This is a confession for you, the parents of my school.
I took over the morning traffic duty a year and a half ago, and I have to admit to you that it wouldn't have been my first choice of supervision duties. (If you walked by last Monday when it was pouring down rain, you could probably read the look on my face that said I was miserable.) I don't know what I expected back before I started morning traffic last year, but I do know that I wasn't expecting it to be fun.
And that's the point of today's message: my expectations have totally been turned upside down. Morning traffic is one of the most enjoyable times of my whole day! The main reason? You.
You, the parents-- and by extension the grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, and students-- all of you who walk or drive through that line each morning have made it a great and welcome start to each day. In the beginning, my "Good Mornings!" sometimes fell flat, with no response. People driving by in their cars didn't notice my wave hello. I would sometimes get confused looks from folks who were obviously used to feeling invisible as they walked or drove through the line.
Things have definitely changed, however. Sometimes, I can't even turn around before I hear someone calling out a "Good Morning!" from afar. Drivers are waving before I can even tell who it is through the glare of the sun! From the walkers who wait for the cars to go by, I enjoy hearing how things are going, what your family will be up to that evening, or how last night's softball game went. On those rare occasions, I even feel blessed to be present for you to share some heartache and offer my assurance of prayers.
I have to send a special thanks out to a couple of the grandpas who walk their grandchildren through the line each morning, too. I've gotten some great laughs from them over the last year and a half. (One suggested that Miss Chacon and I sing a duet at the Christmas Program next year. Sorry, it'll never happen . . . You don't want to hear me sing! Another thought wrist weights would be great while I hold up the stop sign and wave cars through because I'd build muscle by the end of the school year . . . Okay, I'm actually considering that one!) Each morning brings something different, and some kind of joy or laughter.
So in all truth, my expectations have truly been flipped upside down. God took something that I, in my human limitedness, thought was going to be difficult, and He turned it into something wonderful and life-giving. I have been truly blessed by all of you.
I have one small reflection on this for you-- consider it an early Christmas gift. As we approach Christmas Day and hear the Nativity story, consider that God turned Mary and Joseph's expectations upside down, too! Out of the blue one day, God stepped into their lives and asked something of them which they did not expect (and much more challenging than morning traffic duty, for sure). Being open to it, though, they followed, and out of their "yes" came the salvation that is possible for each one of us.
I know that many are facing difficult challenges. I know that sometimes the road ahead does not look promising, and that life doesn't always work out the way we expect. I pray that God's grace will be in the hearts of those that need it, so that they may continue to follow Him, and to give Him a chance to show how He can turn expectations upside down.
If things are going well for you and yours right now, pray for those in our community who desperately need your support. God is always finding ways to break through to us (even in silly little ways, like through morning traffic duty). Let's all pray for the openness to let Him in! As we do this ourselves, we’ll be setting the best example possible for the little pairs of eyes in our homes that watch and learn from us.
Merry Christmas! See you tomorrow morning!