December Graduation

Last Thursday evening, I was privileged to read Psalm 8 at our Chattanooga Adult and Graduate Studies campus graduation. This psalm offers a beautiful study in contrasts – the majestic God (Oh Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth) presented as “mindful” of a seemingly insignificant creation (What is man that you are mindful of him?). In addition, this scripture reminds us that this majestic God has given us a role (dominion) in His creation. Majesty, significance, dominion…what wonderful words to speak to graduates and their families.

I wasn’t sure that I would like a December graduation. I’ve always associated graduation with the bright colors and sweet fragrances of spring. Spring represents new life – kind of like graduation. I could find no graduation analogies in the deep darkness of winter, until…

I walked into the church. The contrast between the darkness on the outside and the warm soft light of Christmas on the inside was overwhelming! Candles in the windows, garland on the banisters, happy voices glad to be inside out of the dark cold. The warmest, brightest, greenest day in spring would pale in comparison to this scene. I found myself not wanting to leave the church. If spring graduation is a sending out, surely December graduation is a gathering in. The reality, I suppose, is that graduation is a wonderful event whenever it is experienced, but I’m definitely a December convert.

Graduates leave, you know. That’s the purpose of the university experience. They come to go. So, last Thursday evening, after gathering them in, we sent them away. For me, it’s a great comfort knowing that we’re sending them away equipped. Our graduates are adult learners who are poised to make a difference in their work organizations, communities, churches, and families. Not only have we exposed them to rigorous academics, they now have a clearer picture of what a Christian worldview is and how to apply it in everyday life.

Does that matter? Indeed it does. The graduates who left the bright warmth of the church on Thursday evening found themselves facing a cold, dark world in which a gunman murdered the most innocent and defenseless among us. Much like what happened after 911, our graduates will find themselves responding to questions from their coworkers, neighbors, and, of course, families. They will find a world whose view of life and God has been shaken to the core. Who better or more prepared to help others through this difficult time than our graduates? Our world needs the comfort and direction that a biblical worldview offers…our world needs our graduates.

So, if you’re a graduate reading this post, congratulations! One journey is over, and another is beginning. May you find purpose in the significance and purpose that God has given you, and may you wrap yourself in the warmth of the majesty of our great God (remember, it’s cold outside).