Christmas is a wonderful time of year, full of wonder, anticipation, and the celebration of the coming Savior. I love Christmas as much as anyone, but when it’s over, I’m ready to pull down the decorations and resume my normal schedules related to faith and work. As I was taking the decorations off the tree this year, I began to realize that I was treating the ornaments differently. I carefully wrapped the fragile ornaments and placed them where they would not be crushed, and, because I knew they could withstand a bit of extra pressure, placed the more sturdy ornaments in random places.

I was suddenly aware that each ornament is unique and has individual meaning for our family. Some sparkle and shine, like the star that led the Magi, and some are firm and strong, like the cross of Calvary. I began to wonder if God sees us in a similar light, placing each of us in appointed places appropriate to our distinctive attributes. The “fragile” may offer compassion and empathy that others cannot, while the “sturdy” provide support and strength in times of need.

We are all different. The human composition of a Christian institution is rich in culture, faith, life experiences, and gifts. We, both faculty and students, sometimes forget the value of our differences as we interact in our learning community. It is good to recognize that the qualities of others may compliment, and even enhance, our own. Differences are good. Indeed, our differences speak to the awe-inspiring creativity and boundless love of the Creator. We need one another. Faculty members need the challenge and inspiration of students and students need to the support and motivation of faculty. Faculty should share knowledge with colleagues to build expertise and excellence. Students should encourage one another and foster a sense of community through common goals. We learn from one another in ways that cannot be presented in a classroom.

Whether one has a sparkling personality or a steadfast assurance, God has placed us in just the right circumstances. We are far more precious to Him than mere ornaments. We are not meant to serve as decoration; we are meant to serve one another in His love and for His purpose. Fragile or sturdy, we each have an important place in “the box” that is our learning community.

Are you looking for a college where you won’t only receive an education for life, but also have an experience of a lifetime? UMHB wants to help you develop a clear vision of how to live a successful life, no matter where your path leads from here. We invite you to visit our website for more info, or stop by for a visit!