Dear Covenant Families:
Christmas, that very special day when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Most celebrate it on December 25th, and millions celebrate it on January 7th. The fact is, we don’t know the exact date; but, that fact is so wonderfully and profoundly superseded by the fact that he did indeed come. Emmanuel, God with us was no myth - it was the central event of history. I hope it is the central event of your life. It is certainly the reason Covenant Christian School exists.
Today, as we ponder the wonder of Christmas, please, and I do mean please, don’t take any of the following comments as prescriptive of what you or your family should do for Christmas. The comments in today’s letter are just my personal philosophy. I admit in advance it could be wrong. My comments are about giving. I want you to also know in advance that this letter does not contain a solicitation of funds. These are just very personal comments.
So here we go...it started with my dad. Each Christmas, really all year, Dad died. I don’t mean physically, he’s still alive and somewhere at the golf course at age 90. I mean, he died to self by so profoundly putting others first that it was shocking to me. How? Well, the how is central to the story. He gave presents; he poured his love out under the tree. When my dad gave you knew he really gave. David said, “I will not give to God that which cost me nothing.” My dad would not give above what he could afford to those he loved. Each Christmas - and really, every day- I knew that he made a real sacrifice to give me something. I don’t mean little things, I mean big things he could not afford. He was lavish. The things he gave me “hurt” him, caused his finances harm and seemed to loom larger than life. That’s how he gave, but why?
The why is the important part. It was and is love. He radically loved and gave accordingly. I watched him give the majority of his retirement income away; yet, he was never without his basic needs - sometimes no more, but never less. I tried to model the same throughout my kids’ lives. I saved, I scraped and scrapped and went without so I could give bigger and bigger gifts. To this day my children drive nicer cars than mine, cars that my wife and I along with, yes, my dad and mom, bought with great sacrifice. I have sold my prize gun and so much more just to give to them something special. What was I giving?
So, what was it? What was so important? That the gift had to be concrete. Something the child or the young adult could see touch and feel. Something that was not distant and abstract like a savings bond. I was certainly not a lump of metal powered by decomposed dinosaurs. It was not just the Taylor guitar, or a little girl’s first gun. These things don’t last. My gift to them was a picture of The Giver, My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. What I tried to give was an image of His sacrifice. We all know this was so much more than I could model, but I have two more points to make this Christmas.
These materials are, along with the money that buys them, the least of these things. You see in my life, since I chose Christian education as a career, money has often been tight, but I have plenty of family time; therefore, money, being an area of need, was also an area where my sacrifice could be made most evident. Maybe for you it’s time. I once asked an overworked, workaholic dad who came to counsel with me to take three days off and just spend time with the family. Initially, he did not, but as conflict got worse at home, he finally chose to make the sacrifice he believed he could not make. It made a difference. So, the sacrifice must come from what you do not have to give or the power of the sacrifice to model the very love that transcendently changed the hearts of the elect of all ages is lost. Maybe it’s something you need to give up...my beloved Dad loved to smoke, but ultimately quit because I asked him to. I do not mean to say that any action you or I take makes greater or less the love of God. But, I simply challenge you this Christmas to model the love of God with more than you actually have that His
surpassing greatness would be made manifest in the lives of those you love in a concrete way, right now.
You see now is the last principal of Christmas I’ll share today. Deferred hope makes the heart sick. Children long for their parents now, not in some abstract tomorrow. The gift given today that is so big - and only the Holy Spirit can show you what that is - comes with the power to show a love not that you own, but a love given to you at a cost. A price so great we can never really comprehend the true cost, the true meaning of Christmas.
My heart believes that this is the spirit behind the sacrifice that the team of teachers, staff, board, and administrators makes each day for your child at Covenant Christian School. From my heart to yours - Merry Christmas.
Head of School