At Nexus ICA we’ve been planning for a while to be ready for the possibility that our students would not be allowed home for Christmas. As soon as that idea was floated, we prepared ourselves to spend Christmas with them in one way or another, thinking about Christmas dinner, Covid secure visits and making it as ‘family’ as possible, were that to be the case. Sounds fun don’t you think? But what about the emotional cost? Would it be sad not to see our families? Would we miss them? Would we rather be at home? Would it stop a tradition in its track? Would it start a new one? Could we bear it; being stuck in a place we didn’t want to be in?
Probably all questions that Mary and Joseph asked around the time of their ‘news’ and the census journey to Bethlehem. Their world was turned upside down, as we well know. They faced it with dignity, grace and courage and partnered with God to bring us our most precious gift and fulfil something that rested deep in the heart of the Father. Their sacrifice and their ability to think beyond themselves was incredible.
We’re coming up to a calendar event that seems to have been put in as a response to the wild spending of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It’s called ‘Giving Tuesday’. Sounds a bit sheepish doesn’t it. We’re going to take part at Nexus, because we try to make the most of every opportunity to raise awareness what we do at Nexus, which is to give to our students. Let me try to explain how that works.
Our young people are buffeted on every side; lied to, ignored, crushed by the systems designed to help them. They are hard pressed on every side, perplexed, persecuted and struck down. And to be honest, in the days we are experiencing now it’s not just young people who are experiencing that. BUT we who know Christ are treasures in jars of clay and have within us that all-surpassing power that comes from God. This is what we see, and this is what we declare through teaching, worship times, assessments, workshops, walks, meetings, one-way systems, policies. This is what we pray, this is what we talk about, this is what we fight for. We carry the message of 2 Corinthians 4:8 – 10;
We are hard pressed on every side, BUT NOT CRUSHED; perplexed BUT NOT IN DESPAIR; persecuted BUT NOT ABANDONED; struck down BUT NOT DESTROYED.
And because we see so clearly that the young people who come to us – and the not so young – are treasures in jars of clay, we do everything we can to point out that beauty. We unashamedly highlight the perplexity and despair that has wound itself into life. We challenge the things of society that are not aligned to the word of God. We proclaim the truth of who our students are; spiritual warriors, able communicators, diligent and wise. And we work towards seeing the truth of those things bear fruit in every life. We commit to believing and growing that faith and those postures in our lives first, so it can be given out as it overflows from us. Is it a cost? Yes! Does it require courage and grace? Yes! Is it a joy? Yes!
Maybe that will be expressed this December in a home from home Christmas dinner and some socially distanced charades. But let us all remember how powerful it is to give to one another. Remember how your time and effort and energy and love is making a big difference in the lives of those around you and fulfilling something that rests deep in the heart of the Father.