Greetings to all IPEKA Integrated Christian School Junior High students, teachers, parents and staff, and Happy New Year!
I pray that everyone had a joyful and meaningful Christmas and holiday. Of course, the event we celebrate at ChristmasÃ¢â‚¬â€¢namely, the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (Immanuel, God with Us)Ã¢â‚¬â€¢is a clear and unambiguous reminder that the world is not as it should be. When the angel announced to Joseph that his betrothed was with child Ã¢â‚¬Å“of the Holy SpiritÃ¢â‚¬Â, he was also instructed that the childÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s name will be Ã¢â‚¬ËœJesusÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ (Hebrew: Yeshua) Ã¢â‚¬Å“for he will save his people from their sinsÃ¢â‚¬Â (Matt. 1:18-23).
It is not difficult for an honest man to look at the world he lives in and declare unequivocally that there is a something radically wrong with both it and him. The diagnosis of the Bible is that human nature is fundamentally flawed by evil and corrupt, and humanityÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s common experience affirms and reaffirms this fact every day.
There is a story that when the London Times surveyed members of LondonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s social and academic elite sometime in the early 1900Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s about what is wrong with the world, the English philosopher and writer, G. K. Chesterton is purported to have written the following letter to the editor of the newspaper:
G. K. Chesterton
The succinct and terse reply by G. K. Chesterton reminds me that no high-browed, self-conceited individual clutching ostentatiously a business card listing an inventory of self-engendered credentials can stand before the holy and righteous God that Jesus reveals to us in personal encounter.
I, like everyone else who has lived, save for the Son of God himself, is the problem with the world. The paradox of this self-assessment is that I can never tire of repeating the words of Philip P. Bliss:
Guilty, vile, and helpless we;
Spotless Lamb of God was he;
Full atonement can it be?
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Lifted up was he to die;
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is finished!Ã¢â‚¬Â was his cry;
Now in heaven exalted high.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Christmas should always be a time of deep and critical self-assessment and reflection on the unconquerable love and unimaginable price God poured out and paid to redeem rebellious and self-centred creatures like us.
Back to the first line above; I do pray that every member of the IICS family had a joyful and meaningful Christmas and holiday. But living in a world like ours means we can never be impervious to extrinsic or self-inflicted sadness and misfortune at times. Maybe someone reading this experienced a Christmas like that in 2012. No one is immune from the affects of sin. Its affects strike all the time and anywhere.
It is therefore my prayer and hope for this semester, and all of 2013, that students in IPEKAÃ‚Â Integrated Christian School Junior High will continue to achieve academically and socially, but with a deeper understanding of what it means to live and participate in GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fallen worldÃ¢â‚¬â€¢firstly, by recognising their contribution to the problem of sin and the human predicament; secondly, by recognising and identifying with the person who impeccably solves the problem they are responsible for (along with every other human being who has ever and will ever exist); and thirdly, by getting involved in making known to people everywhere GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s wonderful solution to our problem wherever those people may live. Hallelujah! What a Savior!
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be upon us all in 2013.
Principal, IICS Junior High Division