The Christmas season is just around the corner. Friday, the 19th of December will mark the last day of work for many in the education system. Two glorious weeks of holidays are like a reward, a short reprieve from the lightning paced life we’ve experienced since the beginning of the school year. It may seem like a cliché but every year seems to pass by quicker than the last and every day seems to be more intense than the previous. Numerous factors contribute to this lifestyle, some controllable while others not, but ultimately, this is our life!
And so, as we breeze through this last week of school, we need to pause to ensure that we find and, most importantly, share the joy of Christmas. For me, joy is a stronger and more appropriate descriptor of Christmas than happiness. It reaches deeper! It is not as fleeting or superficial as happiness. While being happy is never a bad thing, being filled with joy is more long-lasting. Our secular society puts a premium on personal happiness and individual rights but it is our faith that shines the light on eternal joy and community well-being! This year, as in previous years, I’ve witnessed our schools sharing the joy of Christmas with our students and bringing joy to the most marginalized and underprivileged in our community. Joy brings more than just a smiling face, it brings a warmed heart and a sense of hope. The celebration of the birth of Christ, each and every year, brings hope to Christians around the world. While we are often targeted in the media as being archaic, the fact is that Catholic Education provides a strong foundation to our community.
Christmas is both a celebration and remembrance of some “firsts.” This past year we’ve celebrated the birth of many children and grandchildren within our staff. I always look forward to when these babes come and visit the superintendent. This season will be a new beginning for first time parents and grandparents and the first Christmas to their bundles of joy! What an exciting time and a wonderful memory. But this Christmas, will also be the first without a loved one or colleague, for many of our families. I was reminded of this when I attended the funeral of long time Holy Spirit teacher, Ron Wagner. This will be a tough Christmas for Jeanne and her family and so my thoughts and prayers go out to them and to all others who lost a loved one this past year.
As you begin your holiday, I pray that you continually find the joy of Christmas in your lives and carry that same joy throughout the new year. It is through joy that we can bring hope to all and it is through hope that miracles can happen. Enjoy your Christmas vacation and may your homes be filled with love and laughter and may you always find the peace of Christ!
Merry Christmas and God Bless!