Soon we will turn the final page on 2021, the second year of perhaps the most remarkable two-year period in our lifetimes, at least. We will never experience life as we knew it pre-2020 again. That prospect was somewhat unnerving at first given that we are creatures of habit and tradition. Every aspect of our lives was affected in some way, and it was hard to shake the feeling of uncertainty. What would tomorrow bring?
Yes, the last two years has left piles of rubble in its wake, but if you look in the right places, you’ll see that tremendous beauty has risen from the ashes. We are well along the path to rebuilding and re-visioning best practices for learning and community outreach. That’s what we do, having been created in the image of the ultimate Creator – the One who spoke the awe-inspiring, majestic world into existence (even in its fallen state).
We all have seen firsthand and heard many stories of the marvelous accomplishments at Christian schools. Amid these unresolved times, God has very clearly given us a wonderful opportunity to be a beacon of light and hope in our communities.
I firmly believe that someday we’ll look back and see clearly through the present haze and realize that our unsettled feelings have brought what really matters into sharper focus. The same God who created this magnificent earth—and the sun that shines and the air we breathe—is still our “refuge and help” (Psalm 46). He never left His throne. He is and always will be “our very present help in trouble.”
As little children, many of us anticipated the days before Christmas by marking a big X on the calendar every night at bedtime. We wrote wish lists with pencils on lined paper and mailed them to the North Pole, smiled as we curled up under a pile of blankets wearing reindeer PJs, and slept all snug in our beds. A glow from the lights on the Christmas tree emanated through the crack in our doors.
Before the new year and semester are upon us, I want to encourage you to fully pause and celebrate our Savior’s birth this Christmas. Through the challenges of the past two years my faith has increased, and the hope I have in God has grown exponentially; I hope yours has, too. And that’s what we celebrate at Christmas – this tiny, beautiful baby boy laying in a manger that was assembled with pieces of wood. A baby boy who grew up to carry the wooden cross He would die on, shedding precious drops of blood to purchase His children back into His family, where we belong.
That’s what brings me to Ebenezer Scrooge. The story of Scrooge is really the story of all of us—before and after Christ. Do you remember how ecstatic Scrooge was when he woke up on Christmas morning and realized he wasn’t really dead?
“I don’t know what to do,” cried Scrooge. “I’m light as a feather, I’m happy as an angel, I’m merry as a schoolboy …”
… He went to church, and walked about the streets, and watched the people hurrying to and fro, and patted children on the head, and questioned beggars, and looked down into the kitchens of houses, and up to the windows, and found that everything could yield him pleasure. He had never dreamed that any walk—that anything—could give him so much happiness.
This should be a picture of us with Christ! We were once dead, like Scrooge in his dream, but we are now alive because of the baby boy in the manger! The spirit of Christmas exhibited by this over-the-top Dickens’ character is exactly what we need and should have. Let’s celebrate this Christmas with gusto and carry this same spirit over into January as we continue to lay the bricks of learning on the solid foundation set down since the beginning of the school year.
Live each moment acknowledging who this baby boy is, and what He did for you. It can be challenging, but let’s treat each day and every single moment that God has given us here on this earth to serve and glorify Him in all we do. We can start by standing and smiling as we watch the students bustle through the hallways between classes, encouraging a harried teacher, and asking a student sitting alone in the cafeteria how they are doing.
May what Charles Dickens wrote about Ebenezer Scrooge be true of all of us, all school year long: “And it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Dr. Larry Taylor is the president of ACSI. He previously spent 20 years as the head of school at Prestonwood Christian Academy (PCA) in Plano, Texas, during which time Dr. Taylor co-launched a national training institute for schools, “Becoming a Kingdom School Institute,” and developed a training program for parents titled, “Becoming a Kingdom Family.” Dr. Taylor authored the book Running with the Horses, which helps parents raise children to be servant-leaders for Christ and helps to build a family plan. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.