Christmas is a time for...

As the school year comes to an end and the festive season begins, I’d like to share with you what Christmas means for me and my family. Christmas is a time for:

The spirit of generous giving is wonderfully renewed at Christmas year-by-year, both within the family and beyond. Buy those presents for others and experience the truth that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Also take joy in supporting the retail sector and the millions of worthwhile jobs that depend upon it.

Feast well on the wonderful food available to us in plenty, and in so doing ensure that those whose living depends on our purchases are not forgotten.

Set something aside for those less fortunate than yourself. Go online (your children are very good at this!) and buy a goat or a water tank or a vaccination kit in a country where life is about survival and even life’s necessities are scarce. Enjoy the debate within the family, as we do, about which project, where and how much to give. By all means bargain hard about the projects, but err on the generous side about the amount.

Be realistic! A worthwhile charity will welcome the beige cardigan Aunty May knitted for you last year which you would not wear in a fit. Summer is a good time to clean out the wardrobe remembering that our ‘cast offs’ could be someone else’s treasures.

Forgive from your heart anyone who has hurt you.

Family and Friends
Family activities are fun. Do one together – walk on the beach, a game of cards or boules, the latest computer game, kite, frisbee or even Twister or hula hoop! For the older and more accomplished batsmen, make sure you enforce the ‘over the fence and out’ rule at the post-luncheon backyard game of cricket.

Sit around your dinner table and really enjoy the company of your family and friends. Tell them how much they mean to you. Share a hug or two, or three. Be a generous listener. What was the best thing to happen in the past year? What was the worst? Talk about it. Telephone a friend you have not seen for a while (phone calls today are relatively cheap).

Sharing a meal with the family, especially when every member has helped in some way with its preparation and clean-up, is a memorable event. You will probably eat more than usual on Christmas Day, so enjoy every mouthful.

Music and carols
Wander along to your local park to sing carols with your own local community. Have a singalong to CD carols at home and try not to laugh when tone-deaf Dad joins in.

Watch your grandmother fall asleep on the couch after lunch and listen to her contented snoring. Forgive her as the Christmas season is a time to relax, rest and re-charge.

Christmas is a time of celebration following the thoughtful and reflective season of Advent. On Christmas Day we join with family and friends to share in that great celebration, the birth of Christ, to exchange gifts and also to remember those whose celebrations are marred by misfortune or separation. Let us not forget the wonderful example Jesus gave us, which is beautifully summarised by the following passage:

Jesus the Teacher

He never taught in the classroom.
He had no tools to work with, no blackboards, maps or charts.
He used no subject outlines, kept no records, gave no grades,
And his only text was ancient and well-worn.
His students were the poor, the lame, the deaf, the blind, the outcast
And his method was the same with all who came to hear and learn
He opened eyes with faith
He opened his ears with simple truth
And opened hearts with love, a love born of forgiveness
A gentle man, a humble man,
He asked and won no honours,
No gold awards of tribute to his expertise or wisdom.
And yet this quiet teacher from the hills of Galilee has fed the needs
Fulfilled the hopes
And changed the lives of many million
For what he taught, brought heaven to earth
And God’s heart to all people.                            (Source Unknown)

Giving thanks
Carey is fortunate. We have a strong, caring and supportive school community. Our students want to be at Carey. They appreciate the opportunities they are given. They learn in a values-enriched environment and are blessed with many fine teachers and supported by a large and dedicated professional staff. Thank you to all of the Carey staff for your wonderful contributions.

On behalf of the School, I thank all those who have contributed to an enjoyable and successful year – the School Board, parents, staff, Old Grammarians and students.

To those staff and students leaving at the end of this year, thank you for enriching the life of Carey. I hope you take with you wonderful memories of your time at Carey and that you can now move forward with confidence, knowing that you can make a difference in our world.

I wish you and Carey every success – except when Carey plays Melbourne Grammar in sport!

When I leave at the end of this year, it will be with great sadness, affection and humility for the blessings that have been mine here at this beautiful school.

I hope that each of you has a joyous Christmas, a happy New Year and a wonderful holiday.

Philip Grutzner