I had the occasion to visit a school yesterday. I was greeted warmly by the administrative assistant at the front desk and suitably signed in as I began my walk around. To my deep disappointment there were no students in any of the classes to disturb or to leave chaos in my wake. As I made my way to the back of the school at least hoping to bump into some lonely volunteer or staff member, I could hear the sound of less-than enthusiastic voices singing a well-known Christmas carol.
The students and staff were gathered in the gym. The next to last Christmas rehearsal was taking place. It had obviously been going on for some time, I knew intuitively from the lines being spoken and the song being sung that they were somewhere near the end. None to soon if I could tell from the crowd. Students were restless, teachers scurrying about, last minute reminders to pay attention, grade 7&8 students pretending to be interested. And yet, through it all, the primary students managed to sing a well-known Christmas carol beautifully—it was a song that would repeat through my brain for the remainder of the day as I headed back out on the road.
That scene could have been the scene in most OACS schools this week. Last minute preparations for the Christmas pageant (musical, recital, band performance, choir) As a Principal, I used to tread carefully during those last couple of weeks, wondering when the inevitable moment should arrive. You know that moment … the music director gets ill, a student faints or worse pukes all over the stage (or his peers or maybe you), or a parent walks into your office and bursts into tears no longer able to bear the burden of the season.
And then suddenly it is the night of the performance: The students are ready, the staff still tense as they make the last minute preparations and then you mount the stage, welcome the eagerly waiting audience and dutifully open the evening in prayer. And then something special happens … it always does as the students rise to the occasion. The parents, grandparents and friends revel in the delight of the performance and once again we are ready for the miracle of the Christmas season. We are ready, yet again, to celebrate the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Two things I pray for you in these final few days—first is an extra measure of patience and wisdom as you deal with the inevitable tensions and challenges of the last couple of weeks … I pray that they will be manageable and lead to healing moments. Secondly is an encouragement … at the end of Luke 2 is a favourite verse of mine: “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” I pray that in the midst of the chaos and noise of shepherds and angels and animals and strangers and lights and tinsel, you will be able to treasure these moments and ponder them long after the events of the days and truly celebrate the miracle of the Christmas season.