Welcome back to all the children as we start 2017 with great enthusiasm and optimism for the year ahead.
This week, whilst still in the season of Christmas but with the bustle of the commercial season having passed, we took the opportunity in school for calm reflection in our two whole school worships.
We began on Wednesday with a worship centred around the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God. Our pupils took the time to cast away in their imaginations the clean cut nativity figure scenes that adorn our homes and churches to think instead about the more realistic sights, sounds and smells that would have surrounded the Holy Family as the birth of Christ took place in a stable. We then all reflected on what we know about the circumstances surrounding our own births, and this weekend would be a great opportunity to remind your children of when and where they were born, who their first visitors were, and any interesting anecdotes surrounding the special event.
In our whole school worship on Friday we turned our attention to the Epiphany. The children all know that the birth of a child brings gifts galore for the new baby, with Jesus being no different. What struck me with my own children in more recent years has been the rise of the (dreaded) party bag, where children walk away from parties to which they were invited with gifts of their own – it was a slice of cake in a sticky napkin in my day! We thought about what we would have in a party bag if we were to leave a celebration of Jesus’ birthday, which in effect is one of the elements of the Epiphany as we return to Ordinary Time in the liturgical calendar. The children were shown how the gifts from the celebrations of Christ’s birth, being Peace, Love, Hope, Joy and Faith, have more significance in our lives than any other gift, and will far outlast anything else that we may receive at Christmas or at our birthdays. Each class took from the worship a party bag containing these gifts on slips of paper, and these will form the centre piece of class worship on Monday morning.
So, onwards St Peter’s with pride and confidence into 2017. I wish you all peace, prosperity and happiness in the coming year.
Mr R Cunningham