Lately I have observed an increasing number of ways that our culture is ignoring, revising, or degrading the celebration of Christmas, and, for that matter, any specifically Christian public affirmation. It seems that our nation has accepted the position (and all the historical revisionism that comes with it) that the only official and publicly allowable religious affirmation in our nation’s public square is either skepticism or outright atheism. Cultural commentators far wiser than I have offered excellent documentation and analysis for this trend. In the midst of it, however, Regents Academy goes against the stream of officially disavowing Christmas in favor of a more acceptable, non-religious holiday or rejecting other public Christian affirmations in favor of a bland neutrality built on a fear of ever offending anyone’s sensibilities. Regents Academy is – and seeks to be, in every sense of the word – a Christian school. Jesus Christ is Lord – Lord of our school, its classes, teachers, curricula, policies, culture, and future.
I’ve been ruminating on a few of the consequences of the Lordship of Christ at our school:
• We will not be having any holiday parties or other holiday celebrations this December. We are having Christmas parties and Christmas celebrations, including Christmas trees, Christmas carols, Christmas presents, Christmas ornaments, Christmas decorations, Christmas sweaters, and Christmas joy. St. Nicholas is one of our heroes. We love celebrating Advent and want to make it one of the most special times of the year. Christmas is a holiday, but we celebrate our holiday because it is a “holy day” and we are followers of Jesus Christ the Holy Lord.
• We are a school, and we one of the main things we do is teach children to read. This we do because we believe that one of (if not the) primary purposes for learning to read is to be able to read the Bible. We put the immense gift of reading to use for a multitude of reasons, but central to them all is the gift of reading and hearing the Word of God. Without this gift, all the other gifts fall apart. We are people of the word because we are people of the Word, who became flesh and dwelt among us.
• We really do believe that prayer is powerful, and we are free to pray without ceasing at our school. This certainly means that we pray together in Morning Assembly each day, our teachers pray with their students at various times throughout the day, and we are each free to pray privately. And we are very happy we have this wonderful freedom. But our praying means that we believe that God is actually present – and welcome – in our halls and classrooms and ball fields. We look to Him and call on Him and rely on Him and implore His favor through prayer. Jesus Christ is not only Lord of all the earth and the far flung galaxies; He is Lord here and now, with us to enable us and guide us. We pray because we believe this.
• We believe that what we have is what we’ve been given. We didn’t make ourselves, and we didn’t give ourselves the riches that we possess and the liberties that we enjoy every day. God is the author of all the blessings that we receive and enjoy at all times. So while we’re not as thankful as we ought to be, we are thankful nonetheless. God is good, all the time, in good times and bad. And thankfulness to God fills the air at our school. In fact, one of our key goals is to cultivate thankfulness in ourselves, to model gratitude before our students, and then to train them to be thankful for what they are being given. We believe we would be failures if we produce smart kids who perform well on tests, go to impressive colleges on big scholarships, and attain success, but who are not humbly thankful.
The Child in the manger rules the world as King and Lord. Our school is His school, and I am so thankful for it.