We are now officially in the season of Advent – the time of preparation for Christmas (even though the shopping centres would have you believe Advent has been happening for weeks by now!). Christmas can create within us a variety of emotions – dread, excitement, cynicism and, for many in our community this year, sadness. We can dread the complicated relationships, the crowds, the bills and the pressure on our families. It can be a challenge to push aside our concerns and busyness to focus on the central figure of Christmas: Jesus. In CARE classes, we have been hearing the timeless story of the birth of Jesus – Emmanuel – God with us. One of our greatest challenges at Christmas is to get our children, and indeed ourselves, to focus on what Christmas is all about – and not to get caught up in the materialism and commercial hype.
Two ways we are hoping to do that here at school are our Christmas Service on Friday 4 December and the Giving Tree Ceremony on Tuesday 8 December. The Christmas Service of worship has been recorded and will be aired in classrooms on Friday afternoon. It will also be available for families to enjoy together as it will include items presented by some of our Music ensembles, readings and dramatic presentations of the first Christmas.
Our Christmas Giving Tree ceremony is an opportunity to help make Christmas brighter for families in our area, through the work of Baptcare. The children are encouraged to bring along a new gift (unwrapped) for a child involved in the Baptcare’s program for disadvantaged families. Following the ceremony, these gifts will be distributed to the families in need in our local community. This will be a great way of reinforcing to the children the importance of the spirit of giving at Christmas. We thank you in advance for your generous support of this project!
This is my last newsletter article for 2020 and I cannot believe all we have experienced this year! I have had the great pleasure of teaching the real Christmas story many times in the last few weeks – in particular to the children in the ELC. I do not know where you will be this Christmas, but wherever it is I pray that you will be surrounded by loving family. Please remember that joy does not come from ‘things’ – true joy comes from moments with loved ones – an appreciation of the many ways God has blessed our lives.
Wherever you are I hope that you share your love and joy with all you meet. Savour the delight in your children. There will be many in our School community for whom this Christmas will be tinged with sadness and difficulties. Please remember these families in your prayers and thoughts.
Christmas is the celebration of Emmanuel – God with us. The reality of Christmas is that we have been given a bridge to God which offers hope. The true spirit of Christmas is love and forgiveness, between nations, traditions, cities, families and each other, let us not let materialism, or ideologies of this age, spoil this beautiful time.
Happy Christmas and blessings to you and yours for Christmas and the New Year.
Janine de Paiva
Junior School Chaplain