A Youth Worker’s Christmas Wish

Jacob Eckeberger
December 22nd, 2017

Dear Santa,

I know. I’m probably a bit too old to be writing you letters, but the big red mailbox in the mall looks so exciting…  And even if the dog-tired old mall Santa doesn’t get ahold of this, I am hopeful that my Christmas wish will not go unheard.

Aside from new socks and a rice cooker, my Christmas list involves something that can’t quite fit underneath a tree.

All I want for Christmas is youth.

And no, I don’t mean youthfulness (though I’m not getting any younger!). Technically, a small junior high student could fit herself underneath a tree, but if I were to find that on Christmas morning, I’d be quite perturbed…

I wish, hope, and pray for students to invest in. Sometimes, I am reminded of people who believed in me when I was young. They made me feel bigger than my problems, and they climbed through the obstacles of life right alongside me, even though they had obstacles of their own. That love changed my life. I may not even be here today without the genuine care of those people.

I’m also reminded of the times when I felt alone. It was (and is) difficult to be an adolescent. There are so many voices that shape who you are, what you do, how you do it, where you end up, and why you should keep going. Being pulled in so many directions can make you feel like you are literally being torn apart, piece by piece. And sometimes, you find out all of the voices are inside your head, and you realize that there seems to be nobody pushing or pulling you at all.

This is why I want to invest in youth: not to push them or pull them in any particular direction, but to build them up and lift them closer to the most high God.  I am certain that God does not wish to leave young people to fend for themselves. For all people of all ages, He humbled himself to be born in a smelly animal trough, grew up to die by being nailed to a cross, and all the while loved us beyond our comprehension. If God went to such great lengths to humble Himself that Christmas day, what greater honor do we have than to point to the star that will lead us to where He is?  Even in the darkest of nights, I wish you could see how my students run towards that star! Young people understand this in such a unique and invigorating way, and I want to be a part of that!

And Santa, I have to be honest… I don’t deserve this honor.

For some reason, God has graced me with a call to youth ministry. Sure, it has its challenges, but I can’t think of a more awesome way to participate in the unfolding of the kingdom of heaven!

Okay, Santa. I have to go, and I know you’re pretty busy too. As much as I love to send you my wishes, my hopes and prayers belong to God. Just don’t forget that rice cooker.

Leta Williams is a graduate resident through the Center for Youth Ministry Training and serves as youth director at Troy United Methodist Church in Troy, Tennessee. You can find her on TWITTERand INSTAGRAM @lovenotknownot or EMAIL.

Jacob Eckeberger

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.