Middle School Update

December 4, 2015

Wishing You a Resilient Christmas

As many of you know, Christmas can be “the best of times and the worst of times.”

While it is joyful to herald the arrival of grace and truth in the form of baby Jesus, Christmas can also accentuate a sense of loss and aloneness. Regrettably, national suicide statistics and other depressive disorders usually climb during significant holidays, particularly Christmas. Ironically, this time of greatest joy can also be a time of despair for many, or a time of great temptation and “falling away” from your first love in Jesus. If you are personally at risk in this regard, I urge you to seek the fellowship of Godly friends and even professional help during this coming Christmas season. As well, Christmas is a special time when each of us can be merchants of hope for others.


The exhortation of Scripture in 2 Peter 3:17-18 (shown above) is a fitting caution for the risks of an altered schedule, a brief period where suddenly many of our life responsibilities are placed on pause, a time when excess often becomes the norm. To paraphrase: Be on guard! Don’t get carried away by unprincipled or undisciplined practices during the holidays! Use the Advent Season and Christmas itself as a unique opportunity for you and your family to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus! Give Him all the glory for the temporal and eternal grace which our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ has bestowed upon us!


In the Resilient Warriors “Get Ready” phase of resilience, we identify the importance of “Deploying with the Right Mindset.” In Romans 8:6, God reminds us, “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.” As we seek to foster resilience before, during, and after Christmas 2014, it is only fitting that we “set our minds” firmly on the wonderful reality of a loving God who sent His Son to rescue us in a fallen world. As well, we must “set our hearts” on the written word of the Lord (and Jesus, the “Word become flesh”), akin to Ezra who “set his heart to study the word of the Lord and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel.” (Ezra 7:10) In short, we must proactively press into God as we approach the holidays, ensuring that we do not fall subject to a Christmas malaise that can afflict those who take their eyes off of Jesus.


No doubt you also have many good ideas, but here are a few proactive approaches to a “Resilient Christmas” as you and I “deploy” into the holiday season, as we wait with a purpose during Advent, as we welcome the Christ child, and as we usher in a New Year:

  • Wait with a purpose. Do a Biblical topic study on “wait,” with a particular focus on Isaiah 40:28-31.
  • Allow God to teach and direct you during each day of Advent, ideally with the assistance of a useful devotional for that purpose. Our family tradition is to put 28 candles for the four weeks of advent into an old log that we drug out of the forest with our young son many years ago. What joy to light another candle each night of Advent on that same log, now with our grandchildren. It is particularly awesome when you get all 28 candles blazing on Christmas Eve – some things never get old!
  • Seek first Jesus -- not gifts, goodies, or games. Understand that your greatest JOY will be giving time, warmth, and affirmation to others. Act out Winston Churchill’s wisdom: "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give" (particularly at Christmas!).
  • Usher in the New Year with a spirit of anticipation and intentionality. Do a Biblical topic study on “new” with family and friends on New Year’s Day. Dream about “Christ in you, the Hope of Glory” for the year to come.

Please accept my best wishes for the most meaningful Christmas you have ever experienced. May it be particularly special because you intentionally and expectantly focus upon Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. To Him Be All the Glory!


By Bob Dees, Liberty University

Important Dates

Dec. 8: MS Christmas Concert

Dec. 9: Chapel Schedule (chapel and All MS Activities)

Dec. 10: End of Q2 X Blocks

Dec. 10: 1st Comments Due by 8 AM

Dec. 11: Regular Schedule; No Chapel

Dec. 11: 2nd comments Due by 8 AM

Dec. 14-16: HS Finals; regular schedule for MS

Dec. 14: SMT Christmas Buffet

Dec. 14: 3rd comments due by 8 AM

Dec. 15: 4th Comments Due by 8 AM

Dec. 16: Final Comments due by 8 AM

Dec. 17: Last day

8:30-11:00 – Class Parties

11 – 12 – MS Awards Assembly

12 – 12:30: Checkout

Before you leave: grades verified

Dec. 18: Staff work day; Christmas party in the evening

The Big Review

We’re in the last lap of the semester, and the finish line is close! The end of the semester is always a great time to go back and review. In high school our exams mandate a review, but even in lower grades it’s a great time to pause and take a tour back through the semester’s big concepts.

Making a game out of review is a great way to bring some fun to the end of the semester as you review. A possible way to generate questions for the game is to assign students each a section of something they learned this semester and ask them to create 3-4 questions about the most important ideas from that unit. Here are a few templates for review games.

· PasswordGreat for vocabulary words

· JeopardyYou can use all kinds of questions with this format

· Wheel Spinner: Enter a few terms or vocabulary words, and they’ll appear on the wheel spinner. Click on the middle of the wheel, and it will randomly select which term students have to define.

Susan Allen

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