“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.” (Maya Angelou)
As we embark upon the Christmas countdown I enjoyed giving an advent calendar to every class across all three sites on Friday 1st December. I was impressed that the children at Infants knew the term Advent and it will be interesting to see how each class decide who will have the chocolate treat each day! Nursery sent me this lovely message….
‘The children at Nursery would like to say a big thank you for our advent calendar. Tinsel the ELF, who has been sent to watch over us to ensure we behave is helping to choose who gets to open the door each day.’
For many in our community and beyond this has been a year of disquiet, change and violence. It seems each time we turn on the news, there is another tragedy or act of terror to grieve over. However, Christmas can be a unifying time for many communities and families whether Christian or not. The holiday period in the United Kingdom is universal, giving us the opportunity to spend quality time together. It is also a time for thinking of others, giving to charity and remembering the importance of compassion. Amidst the plethora of adverts for material gifts, festive food and drink there are lots of reminders about how difficult Christmas can be for many. People who are alone or homeless; those who are ill or in pain, in despair or those who have lost hope – all seems all the more poignant at Christmastime.
In our Westholme community as we celebrated together at our Christmas Fayre it is clear that in so many ways we are extremely fortunate. Our lives are not idyllic and we have our own personal challenges, difficulties and disappointments to face. But this is one time of year when we can reflect on our good fortune and acknowledge the positive aspects that enrich our lives: this must be a time when we apply a healthy perspective.
As a school, as leaders and influencers we must present our attitude in a positive way. We have to be the change we are looking for – emotions are contagious. Violence creates more violence, as gratitude creates more success, happiness and peace. As our tables are laden with food, our trees twinkle above mounds of gifts and our homes are full of joy – I hope that we can spare a thought for those less fortunate. Better still, can we spare a gift to donate to a homeless shelter or give our time to a person we know is alone or afraid? Such small acts of kindness will not have a negative impact upon our Christmas, indeed they would surely enrich it – helping someone else will also help you. The spirits of Christmas so graphically depicted in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol may provide a salutatory lesson for us all.
“Gratitude helps you to grow and expand; gratitude brings joy and laughter into your life and into the lives of all those around you.” (Eileen Caddy)
Lynne M Horner