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The Christmas Story

Jesus grew up in a confusing and intimidating time. His parents faced multiple challenges. Politicians had hidden agendas. People of contrasting faiths frequently clashed. In many ways, the historical context is not dissimilar to our 2017 reality.

This Friday, when we gather together as a whole school community for the final time in 2017, we will examine the historical context of Christmas. What led Mary and Joseph to be in Bethlahem? Who were these random three shepherds? How did the Roman government control and threaten the notion of community? It’s been a challenging year for our world. Manchester, London, Las Vegas. A plebiscite. Race riots. Natural disasters. Political coups. To repeat a common message in 2017; it’s been easy to get MAD and it’s not always been easy to look for the positives and try and Make A Difference.

Yesterday at school, I had the pleasure of being a part of our Year 4 celebration liturgy and the Hall was full of positivity, laughter and happiness. An atmosphere of hope and optimism permeated the room and the nerves and uncertainty of the first day of school in January appeared to be a distant memory for our youngest students. Again, to draw parallels to the 1st Century, I often think that there was a similar atmosphere in the Middle East as Jesus’ message began to spread. Anxiety was met with hope. The apostles preached the virtues of love, tolerance and positive relationships. Smiles lit up faces that had previously frowned. I know I’ll have to draw on each one of these virtues over the Christmas period with my in-laws, but am equally sure it will be a blessed time worth savouring.

The 2017 school year has been, for me, unpredictable, crazily busy, surprising but ultimately so very rewarding. Not much different to your baby being born in a manger I suppose. God Bless, have a wonderful Christmas and may we all continue to MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

Matthew Warr, Assistant Dean of Formation