After the extraordinary celebratory week of performances in Pre-Prep and Prep last week and the spectacular, delicious and fun Christmas lunch, prepared with great joy and skill by Mark and the catering team, this week we prepared for our carol service on Thursday. I congratulate all the children who were involved, the community choir, Gordon Baird and his brilliant peri team. It was an incredible privilege to be a part of it. At that service we were invited to focus on the essential reasons for celebrating Christmas.
It’s very easy in our busy lives to cohabit with our family without actually connecting much. Christmas is a time when hopefully you and your families will be able to get together, whether in church, around the dinner table, in silly games or on Skype or FaceTime. Of course there is a balancing act between rushing around in order to see people, and having the space and time to talk deeply and understand the lives of our families and friends. For some, Christmas marks a period of tension or sadness, remembering people who have died this year and are missed or who through distance cannot join in, or people who are separated where the family unit is changing, breaking down or perhaps adding new members. Whatever your experience of Christmas will be, I hold each and every family at St Michael’s in my prayers this season.
It is easy for parents to feel a sense of obligation to fulfil the expectations of society, TV adverts and perhaps indeed your own children. I would encourage you to construct and define a proportionate response to what can become a “silly season”.
Listening, connecting, sharing, walking, caring for one another and the world, learning, taking notice, exchanging, these are some of the important activities which I hope you will enjoy.
As we gathered together on Thursday evening to enjoy some remarkable, moving and glorious music, learn about customs and traditions from around the world and remember the tiny baby Jesus who sparks this whole celebration, I hope we also rejoiced in the gift of our own children and those we work with at school. Precious lives who with the right nurturing and education, will grow up and make the world a better place.