I have a love/hate relationship with Christmas lights. Overall, I love them…when they are hanging up. The process of putting them up is often a train wreck. First, you have to find them in the box hidden somewhere in the basement. Once you find them, it can take hours to unravel them. I always tell myself when I take them down to do it neatly and keep them organized, but somehow that never happens. So after unraveling them, I plug them in and they always work, at least before I go up on the roof. Then I head outside. With ladders, extension cords, clips for every little light, and a vision that is usually bigger than my ability to complete, the process begins.
The first few lights go up with joy and Christmas songs playing in my head. A few hours later, the joy is disappearing and instead, I am annoyed that my fingers are raw and the lights are still all jumbled up. But finally, the last light gets hung and it is time to turn them on. Fail. One strand isn’t working. So I check all the bulbs and determine that is not the problem. I move on to the extension cords and they all check out. I finally figure out it is a fuse in the lights, but I don’t have any more of those fuses. Off to the store I go to buy a fuse. By now the Christmas songs in my head are fading. After a couple of stores, I find the fuse, return home, climb back on the roof and install it. Now the big moment. I plug everything back in and low and behold…everything works! Everything but one bulb. I could ignore that bulb and focus on the others that are illuminating my house, but no, I feel the need to fix it because when you have lights lined up on the roof line of your house, every light matters.
This is also true about our students. I have mentioned before that every gift towards the building matters and believe me it does. Every gift matters so much and I want to thank you for all of your gifts big and small. We value all of them. But that is money. There is something way more important: the hearts and minds of our students. Every heart and mind here matter and we need to view our kids that way. I want to remind myself, our teachers and all of you to pray for each one of our kids. Love, support, and encourage every kid you come into contact with and I mean every single one. We have a tendency to look at the group as a whole and think it looks pretty good even though one or two of the “lights” might be struggling. We need to care about every individual kid. It reminds me of the Parable of the Lost Sheep when the shepherd leaves the herd to go after the lost one. We need to model that amazing love of Christ.
We are still raising money to finish the ARC and we will update you on that later in the week. But today, I am not asking you for money. I am asking you to pray. Pray for the hearts and minds of our students. Pray for our faculty and staff as they interact with the students and seek to share the Gospel. Pray for the families represented at Illiana. Pray that the love of Jesus Christ will be imprinted on each and every heart here.