Earlier this year I quoted Solomon, who tells us in Ecclesiastes 7:8 that, “The end of a thing is better than its beginning.” Now we find ourselves, already and at last, at the end of our school days for the year 2020, and I believe we can say with confidence and gratitude that God has indeed blessed us more in the end of this calendar year than we could have imagined some months ago, nearer the beginning. The year 2020 may have been full of conflict, confusion, disappointments, diseases, and distractions, but Christ remains seated on His throne, and His hand of blessing has also never been more evident in our lives. From that standpoint, 2020 has been a year of new mercies, refined values, neighborly care and compassion, deeper appreciation for everyday blessings, clarified priorities in education and at home, and growth through discipline. God has been at work in our lives at CCA, and I have no doubt that 2021 will bring even more opportunities to give Him glory.
One of the most beautiful verses about the nature and character of God comes to us from James, the brother of Jesus. We may not think of the book of James as having much to do with Christmas, but in chapter 1 we have an incredible claim about the connection between God and something we associate very strongly with Christmas: gift-giving. James tells us that, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning (1:17). This simple verse sings the joys of Christmas through and through. God, the Father of Lights, sends us as the ultimate gift His Son Jesus, The Light of the World, who, like His father, is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). In honor of that gift, we give gifts to one another in imitation of our Father in Heaven. In this way, gift-giving shows love and honor to others but also love and gratitude for God, who so loved us that He gave His only begotten Son, “that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). But there’s more. Notice that James tells us that EVERY good and perfect gift comes down from above, from the Father of Lights. It’s not just the big gifts, the fancy gifts, the special occasion gifts, or even the gift of His Son (though that would be more than enough), but it is EVERY gift that is good that has its source in Him.
When you start to add it all up, you find quickly that you run out of fingers on every hand in the world to count the blessings of God to us. As David sings in Psalm 40, “Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works which You have done; and Your thoughts toward us cannot be recounted to You in order; If I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered” (v. 5). And that’s one of the reasons we educate our children in the Lord. He has hidden evidence of Himself everywhere and invites us to find and unwrap His marvelous gifts. He has called us to be sons and daughters of the King, future kings and queens reigning with Him in glory. The presents are packaged and under the tree, under every mountain and sky, in every bird and every beast, in the hearts and hands of our neighbors, and in the treasures of wisdom to be sought out in learning. “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out a matter” (Proverbs 25:2). Christmas morning has dawned on us perpetually, and the gifts given by our Father of Lights await our discovery. Our Abba, Father, smiles with delight as we open our gifts in His Son, made new by the Holy Spirit. And then He gives us His Spirit to celebrate with fruit befitting a holy people, so that Christians of all people ought to know how to feast and party, not as the world does, but with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). God has given us gifts, upon gifts, upon gifts. Praise be to God!
All this should produce in us a spirit of gratitude and thanksgiving, and, indeed, I want to thank you on behalf of everyone at Classical Christian Academy for your many gifts to us. Thank you for your unmatched generosity and your thoughtfulness, service, and love this Christmas and this entire year. We truly could not do it without you. When we come back to school in the year 2021, Lord willing, I know we will be stronger because of God’s gifts to us through you, our CCA family. Thank you for entrusting your kids to us as we seek to proclaim the works and wisdom of God to the next generation. I look forward to continuing the journey with you. May the Lord bless you in your final Advent preparations, and may your Christmas days be most merry and bright, filled by the Light of the Father, our great Giver of Gifts, His Spirit, who Lights our paths and our hearts, and His Son, the true Light of the World. Merry Christmas!