An ICS Christmas

With Christmas comes much anticipation. Just as God’s children eagerly looked forward to the coming of a Messiah over two thousand years ago, so too do we await Jesus’ second coming. Christmas, in my opinion, is nestled perfectly within the coldest, darkest nights of the year – serving as a reminder that it’s often in our blackest moments that God chooses to give us the miracle of hopes fulfilled.

At ICS, Christmas is quite the celebration. There are parties to be had, ugly sweaters to be worn (and if you have a minute, you should ask to see Mrs. Alvarado’s), cookies to be eaten, gifts to be exchanged. The last two weeks of school before Christmas break are a dizzying crescendo of play rehearsals, costume fittings, touching up the songs the students have been working on for months, carefully balanced atop our regular course load. And for what? Why, the annual Grandparents’ Day Christmas Concert, of course!

Back when I was a student at ICS, I eagerly looked forward to the Grandparents’ Day celebration. Not only was it the last day before that blessed two week break, but it was the moment where we got to see months of hard work payoff – 400+ students in a sea of red singing the songs we’d been practicing, performed in perfect imperfection to hundreds of our family members. I could always count on my grandparents to be in the crowd. And this year, my first Christmas since my sweet granddad was called home to heaven, will take on special significance as I watch our students create memories with their grandparents that will hold a special place in their hearts.

Our students anticipate this day…and not just because it gets them out of class early. Like Christmas day itself, it’s the culmination of much work behind the scenes that they get to give, no strings attached, to the people they love. It’s special, and the students know that even if they have the smallest role to play, it contributes to the overall effect and joy of the play.

“We sing songs and we get to watch the play,” says first grader Connor. “I like that after, we get to go to the classroom and do stuff with the grandparents. [Last year] we traced their hands and cut it out and put it in a picture frame.”

When asked how long he thought he’d remember this time with his grandparents, Connor replied, “A long time. I have the picture in my room.”

Special highlights of the day include the middle school’s memorized recitation of the Christmas story in Luke 2, the sixth grade’s enthusiastic interpretation of a modern-day Christmas play, the reckless abandon of the littlest students singing their hearts out…often with jingle bells or, my personal favorite, kazoos. This is all headed up by our fearless leader, music teacher Cindy Wade, with much cooperation and practice from the ICS teachers. It is a true group effort.

Reagan is a fifth grade student who has attended ICS since kindergarten. “I like singing in front of everyone. It’s just really fun showing everyone the gift of Christ. I like that we get to show our grandparents around our school and show them what we do, and we get to show them our Christmas play. It’s really fun because it celebrates the birth of Christ and Christmas cheer.”

Kayla  is a seventh grade student, gearing up to participate in her eighth Grandparents’ Day experience. As a sixth grader last year, she performed one of the starring roles in the sixth grade drama portion of the concert.

“I like seeing all the grandparents’ faces as they walk through the doors,” she said. “They see all their grand kids and their faces light up. It just feels great. [What makes our Christmas play different from other schools’ is] the actors aren’t just hiding behind curtains. They actually get a chance to be out there and show off what they learned.”

Kayla’s grandmother, Diane Carnahan, has been an ICS staff member for 24 years and is an integral part of making sure Grandparents’ Day runs smoothly behind the scenes.

“My favorite part is seeing the kids perform and the message. Growing up, I remember being in some choral groups and those songs stay with you. Even with the children’s choir programs, those principles are more internalized when they’re in song and the students are a part an integral part of something like that.”

Therein lies the beauty of Grandparents’ Day at ICS: everybody receives something. For the grandparents and special guests, it’s quality time to sit, rest, and take in a bit of Christmas cheer. For the students, in the joy of Christ imparted through days, weeks, and months of singing songs and memorizing verses about His character – and then giving that gift to their families.

We are thankful for another year to share our Grandparents’ Day celebration with the families of ICS. It is our prayer that the grandparents and special guests who walk through our doors leave feeling like a treasured part of our school community. May God be glorified throughout the concert, in our hallways and classrooms, and in your homes this Christmas season.

Merry Christmas!

Please join us for our Grandparents’ Day & Christmas Program on Thursday, December 20, 2018 from 8:30-11:30 a.m.

Our Middle School students working on memorizing Luke 2 to recite at the Christmas Program.