Great Lakes Adventist Academy staff joined together to pray after a student’s mother passed away a few days before Christmas.

January 6, 2022

The Colors of Christmas

When a student lost their mother to cancer, the Great Lakes Adventist Academy staff pulled together to support the family during the holiday season.

It was a blue Christmas for this Michigan family, heavy with last week’s loss of their wife, mother, and grandmother.  In cancer’s wake, their mother left five children, three grandchildren, and a husband facing a season of hurt in what should have been a season of hope.  Blue is the color of grief. 

It was a white Christmas when the Great Lakes Adventist Academy staff concluded final exam administration, piled student luggage into passenger vans, and drove homeleave buses across the state through snow and hazardous conditions. Nevertheless, the promise of relief and relaxation urged GLAA faculty back to their own homes for Christmas break.  But then the news came: A GLAA student had lost her mother to cancer. White is the color of shock.  

It was a green Christmas when GLAA’s Chicago-based school counselor hung up the phone and stared at her backyard. No snow. No tree. No mom. She heard the hurt in the student’s voice and knew something had to be done. Shooting up a prayer, she Googled and dialed. “Please Lord, I know nothing about that part of Michigan. Can you please send me to the right person?” Jan, manager of Huntree Nursery, answered in a cheery voice. After hearing the circumstances she said, “We don’t sell Christmas trees, but my husband has a few trees he’s been planning to cut down.  How tall do they need it?  I’ll have him cut a fresh one and deliver it to their house today.” Green is the color of generosity. 

It was a brown Christmas as UPS delivery trucks brought surprises to outstretched arms.  Elementary-aged children and grandchildren amidst trauma glimpsed a bit of season’s joy in the form of Barbie’s, unicorns, and stuffed animals. Adult children managing funeral and memorial arrangements were prioritized with personal essentials and gift cards. Thanks to GLAA staff members and constituents who had checked off the family’s wishlist within an hour, boxes brought joy and laughter where there once was not.  Brown is the color of fullness. 

A classic John Rutter choral arrangement paints this season’s picture using “The Colours of Christmas.”  “These are the colours of Christmas; Let them shine all over the earth!  These are the colours of happiness; The joy of a new baby's birth.”  As evidenced by Great Lakes Adventist Academy administrators and teachers, a love for others and the King is coloring the lives of students and families this Christmas season.

Mindy Slayers, M.A. School Counseling, SDA School Counsel-tation Services