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A Christmas Thought / A New Year Thought

                   A Christmas Thought / A New Year Thought

(Reflections from the book of John)

January 2, 2024

A Christmas Thought: Receiving the One sent Into the world

Over the last couple weeks, I’ve been drawn back into an idea that is as timely as it is timeless: at Christmas, Jesus came not just to the world, but into the world (John 1:9).  He didn’t swing by; he didn’t pay a visit; he didn’t make an appearance.  Rather, he “became flesh” and “made his dwelling among us” (1:14).  He lived life with us; worked a hard, manual job; walked our dusty roads alongside us, ate with us, shared with us in every grief and trial.  He fully immersed himself in the human experience.  Even so, he never conformed to the fallen, corrupted ways of our world, but rather confronted them.  Ultimately, he took all that brokenness – all our brokenness – on Himself.  So, SSCA community, be encouraged: our gentle and majestic Savior was sent into the world, and we are invited to receive Him (1:12)!

A New Year Thought: Becoming the ones sent into the world

Having received him, we are welcomed into God’s family (1:12).  And that’s not where the story ends – it’s where it really begins.  Toward the end of John’s gospel, Jesus prays regarding his followers, “as you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world” (17:18). This is remarkable!  Just as Jesus was sent into the world, he sends us into the world – those who received become those who are sent.  It can be challenging for us Christians to figure out how best to relate to the world around us, full of darkness as it is.  But Jesus makes it clear that we are to take the same approach he did: to be fully and deeply engaged in our cultural and relational contexts, confronting the fallen, corrupted ways of our world while resisting the temptation to conform to them.  Ultimately, Jesus’ expectation is that we will not only “do what [he has] been doing,” but will “do even greater things than these,” with God’s provision (14:12)!

I believe that an SSCA education is, in essence, a powerful means of equipping students to be “sent into the world” to continue Jesus’ work in every sphere of society.

So, I leave you with these three New Year challenges:

  1. Students: as you dive back into the last few weeks of the semester, remember to ask – as you endeavor to craft sentences with ever-greater fluency, solve problems with ever-greater acuity, create Maker-Space projects with ever-greater ingenuity – in what ways are these emerging skills equipping me to be “sent into the world” to do Jesus’ work in whatever context He might call me to?
  2. Students: “being sent into the world” isn’t only something for the future.  For those of you who have received Jesus, it’s your life right now!  Let’s keep our eyes out for opportunities to carry out His work on the daily – encouraging others, looking out for folks who could use a hand; acting with kindness toward peers and community members – as many of you are already in the habit of doing!  Lower school students, I know that many of you will be engaging in community-outreach projects in the coming weeks, so that will be a great opportunity to dive right in!  Middle and high school student leaders facilitated some wonderful service opportunities in the lead-up to Christmas, with more opportunities on the horizon.
  3. Parents: as we talk with our children about their school learning, let’s remember to ask the larger questions that invite them into a “sent” mindset.  “In what ways do you think this skill you are developing might be equipping you to serve God’s purposes in the world?  In what ways are you discerning the Lord’s calling on you, for this season of your life or for the future?”  These can be a great way to walk alongside and encourage them in that journey.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Sean Hunley

Head of School