Hoorah for December!

As a huge fan of Christmas, I can’t tell you how excited I am! I’m knee-deep in present wrapping, Christmas baking and decorations! And, of course, all of this is accompanied by a good – and let’s be honest – sometimes very cheesy Christmas Movie!

Last week’s offering was The Polar Express, a story of a bunch of kids who embark on a magical adventure to the North Pole on the Polar Express Train, all whilst learning about friendship, bravery, and the spirit of Christmas.

It’s here we met the “Hero Girl”. Check out this clip towards the end of the film when the Conductor finishes punching into her ticket the word, “LEAD.” He affirms her as a leader and tells her he would follow her anywhere. Throughout the film we learn four leadership lessons from Hero Girl. She:

1. Takes Notice

Hero Girl is the first to notice Hero Boy. She is also the first to befriend Billy the Lonely Boy.

Throughout the film she is constantly aware of the environment around her. She has leadership radar for what is happening around her. Who’s who? What’s what? Where can she help? What is she called to do?

Great leaders take time to develop their leadership radar. We need radar for what God is doing around us, what God is doing in us, and what God wants to do in the people we are privileged to lead.

How can we be alert to what God is up to and ready to join in? How can we take more notice of others? Who should be on your leadership radar?

2. Takes Care

As mentioned, she is the first to befriend Billy the “Lonely Boy”, bringing him hot chocolate and singing “When Christmas Comes to Town” with him.

Her care and compassion to all is evident throughout the film. She shows compassion to Hero boy when he loses the gift Santa gave him. She shows genuine empathy. She even tolerates and helps “Know It all Boy”! Which is not easy because man, is that kid annoying!

The heart of leadership should be care and compassion, but it’s very easy to ride the horse of competence and trample people out of the way. Jesus models care and compassion so brilliantly through his leadership journey.

Taking time to take care for and be compassionate towards people, will never be lost time! These are true kingdom-minded leadership characteristics.

How do we want to be known? What’s our leadership reputation? I pray that being known for our care and compassion would be one of the key attributes for which we’re known.

3. Takes Courage

However, despite the two points above, Hero Girl second guesses every decision she makes. At first she seems so unsure of herself, but gains confidence towards the end of the film and becomes a leader.

Santa goes onto say that “she’s a lady of decision, full of confidence and spirit” and he encourages her to keep up the good work.

Hero Girl provides the direction the group needs to continue on their way to the North Pole and the strength of her leadership is shown by the willingness of the others to follow her direction. This is not easy for someone who doubts her own decisions, as many of us know, but her leadership status is affirmed in action by the group of kids following her, not dismissing her ideas.

We all know what it is to have a crisis of confidence, knowing of times when our own leadership journey has felt full of self-doubt, loathing and regular sideways glance, comparing ourselves with others?

How can we be leaders that grow in courage? How can we shake off the lack of confidence that can so easily inhibit us?

4. Takes Commitment

Hero Girl knows the ‘true meaning’ of Christmas (as far as this story goes). She leads them to where the magic begins.

Her faith in what she doesn’t see pulls everyone together to work as a team. Her belief in something altogether greater than anyone or anything they know as real, Santa. And whilst many doubt, she hears Santa’s bells at the end of the movie – and she keeps believing.

Hero girl is committed to the cause… she’s full of spirit because she trusts. That trust, the knowledge of the true meaning, enables her to keep on keeping on.

How can we develop resilience in our leadership and commitment to keep going?

How can we know the voice of God (the bells) when everything around us is screaming chaos, covid and crisis?

Let’s be leaders who stay committed to the cause of Jesus Christ. As we do that, we will always find the strength and resilience to carry on.