Yesterday our churches celebrated the 1st Sunday of Advent - HOPE.
Isaiah 11:1-3 - A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a BRANCH will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him - the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit or counsel and of might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord— and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.
This branch (Jesus) will have an intimate relationship with the Lord and will desire to do His will. He will be greater than David. With righteousness he will judge the world. Jesus will be the obedient servant and will experience the judgement for our sins. He will bring peace too hard to imagine. He will bring joy to the world and heaven and nature will sing. Nature will be at peace, shalom.
God will transform the whole world by the shoot of the stump of Jesse. All our hopes and fears are met in this shoot. HE is our hope and glory.
Take this hope with you wherever you go!
One of the topics that we’ve discussed recently as teachers in regards to cultivating student success is ‘grit’. Biblical words for grit might be ‘steadfastness’, ‘firm’, ‘endurance’.
What is grit? Grit is not about talent or intelligence. Grit is about passion and determination. It is the ability to persist at achieving goals and persevere when there are obstacles or a situation becomes difficult. According to a leading researcher, Angela Duckworth, grit can probably be taught both in the home and at school. "Kids may have the wrong beliefs and have misunderstandings about skill development…beliefs that stand in the way of tapping into performance traits. When students struggle with a task, they may believe that they lack the ability to solve the problem and, therefore, give up. It is important for students to understand that it is ok to feel confused when learning something new, and actually, it is expected. We can teach students that making mistakes or taking a long time to complete an assignment is a normal part of learning, not a sign of failure.” With a focus on character development, community and belonging, WCS strives to create classrooms that are safe places to be curious, to explore, and learn. There will always be mistakes and failures along the way, but those too, are learning opportunities.
Carol Verbeek, Principal
One of the things that I miss most in this pandemic world is hospitality. Not that people aren’t hospitable, not at all, but that our homes and spaces are not open and available as usual for people to drop in, to share food and refreshment, to hang out in person. Perhaps you too lament the absence of the buzz of a gathering, of good conversation, coffee, cupcakes, and maybe croquettes. As we at Woodstock Christian School plan for fall and Christmas, though we would love to invite guests for our annual Christmas production/program, host grandfriends at our Christmas tea, gather at the Southwood Arena for our annual skate, or even as we think of Winterfest this week, we continue to limit our WCS contacts to essential workers and visitors. Regardless, we are celebrating! We celebrate God’s goodness. We celebrate each other and being together in the best way we can. We celebrate God’s gift of Jesus in the coming Advent season. We celebrate our community and the long and faithful commitment to Christian education. We shine the light of Jesus when and where we can.
Christian love is intended to shine brightly. Our current plight is a challenge for us to create opportunities for love and hospitality: to help a neighbour, host virtually, deliver when possible and encourage where necessary, to stay attuned to the needs of others.
Blessings for this week, WCS community! Stand firm. Do everything in love.
Well, the weather here has begun to take a turn towards the cooler fall temperatures and I have been forced to break out the winter coats, although this past weekend was somewhat of the exception. The other week, my husband was driving to work and saw snow! I’m not one for the cold weather. I prefer to be warm and toasty, maybe drinking some hot chocolate by the fireplace. What about you? Do you like this cold, almost winter weather? We are also quickly approaching Remembrance Day here in Canada, Veterans Day in the United States. This is a time where we remember and thank the soldiers who sacrificed so much so that we could enjoy the many freedoms that we have today.
There are times where I find myself outside on cold and rainy/snowy days and just shiver and stand there because I think it is too cold to move. But then as I begin talking with my students about what is Remembrance Day and why it is important, I begin to re-evaluate my thinking. I have a warm winter coat to wear and an umbrella to keep off the rain. I have a place of shelter from the wind and other elements when my 30 minutes of outdoor supervision is over where I can go to get warm again. I have dry socks and clothes to change into when I need to. The soldiers who fought for the many freedoms that we have were considered to be extremely lucky if they had even one of these things during World War I or II. This is a reality that many of our children may not understand.
Each year, I read “A Bear In War” and “A Poppy is to Remember” to my students. The first is an amazing true story of a soldier, a medic, who fought during WWI told from the perspective of a teddy bear sent to him by his daughter. This story allows children to see that life is not always as they know it, that there were many people who gave up everything they had – even their lives – so that we could know this life today. I follow it up with the second book to get them thinking about why Remembrance Day is important. How will your family honour the sacrifices made, and the sacrifices that continue to be made this year?
Erica Schuster, Teacher Grade 1/2A
Thursday and Friday last week provided the annual late-October long weekend for our WCS families and provided spiritual and professional refreshment and growth for our staff team. The Edvance Annual Gathering was live streamed from Toronto District Christian High and began with music and devotions forming the framework for our two days of work. As our staff gathered in the WCS gym, we professed together with educators across the province these words from the song, Testify To Love: “every word of every story, every corner of creation lives to testify … I’ll be a witness … with every breath I take, I will give thanks to God above. For as long as I shall live, I shall testify to love.”
As Christian schools across Ontario, as Woodstock Christian School, we testify - we declare - we claim God’s love. In all we do, in all we study, in all the places we explore, we see God there. As we open up the world for our students, to explore the beauty and the brokenness, we testify that God is there too. In the presentations we heard, again and again, the importance of working to combat isolation and individualism, to build and maintain community. When parts of society are broken, it is more important than ever to find and share our common story, to bring people in, to build trust, to serve with justice and mercy. It is crucial to share God’s love with one another and create spaces in which to welcome others. Our theme verse for this year is a call to action, but always within the framework of love.
Carol Verbeek, Principal