We have again achieved much over the past year because we work together as a team, which I believe is one of the greatest strengths of our school. It has been a fantastic year thanks to the partnership, encouragement and hard work of a wonderful parent community. Thank you for your time, energy and dedication in supporting your children, our school and staff throughout 2017.
Our staff are also an extremely dedicated group of people. It is not accidental that the classrooms are so colourful, engaging and inviting places to learn; it is not a coincidence that our administration runs in both a smooth and friendly manner; nor is it by chance that students continue to make gains both inside and outside the classroom. Every one of our staff members is committed to excellence and to building into each child they teach, and that at times is hard work. So, I would like to thank them too, for their continued time, energy and care.
Over the past few weeks, here at school, we have immersed ourselves in all things Christmas. We have shared the events that took place 2000 years ago of a young man and a young woman getting married and having a baby. The modern-day nativity plays we see is one of glowing faces and embroidered clothing; it is one of gentleness, romance and some excitement thrown into the mix. However, the true story is one of fear, suspense and ultimately genocide. It’s a story filled with controversy and scandal. It’s the story of Jesus.
Israel was a place occupied by the Romans and tyranny was the order of the day. King Herod ruled with an iron fist and was quite comfortable ordering the extermination of anyone who stood in his way - it was a country wracked with fear - no one knew what the day would bring. Helpless to change the situation or protect their own families from danger and frightening uncertainty; the future looked hopeless.
It important to see the first Christmas in its true historical setting. The community Mary and Joseph lived amongst were common, ordinary people who were overwhelmed by challenging and difficult circumstances. They were left with only one hope: the promise of the Messiah. The promise of peace. In Luke 2 we are told:
Let’s move to 1914. An incredible moment in history was recorded on Christmas Eve of that year on the Western Front in France during World War I.
Snow had fallen through the night and the battlefield was covered in white. The British troops watched in amazement as candle-lit Christmas trees started to appear above the German trenches.
The British camp didn’t know what was happening and thought the Germans were perhaps getting ready to attack them. Instead of the sound of rifles though, the sound of singing made its way across the battleground.
Soldiers cautiously began to emerge from the cold, boggy trenches, and perhaps for the first time, recognized the humanness of their enemy. How different do you approach someone when you learn your enemy’s name; when you hear about their hopes and dreams; when you share a drink or play a game of soccer together (as they did on that day)? How different is one’s outlook when you stand shoulder to shoulder with someone who worships the same Saviour on the eve of that Saviour’s birth?
As they stood together, they held a service to commemorate those who had fallen. A solitary voice broke the silence of the night and soon ‘Silent Night’ echoed across the battle grounds … for a moment in time, peace was experienced on the battle fields.
This was the message of the first Christmas – the message of peace and goodwill toward all men.
As with those who visited the baby in the manger and for those who stood together on the war torn grounds in France, may you too experience a deep sense of peace as you celebrate Christmas this year.
I pray that you have a relaxing and refreshing holiday break and look forward to seeing you again ready for 2018.
Blessings to you and your family