The lead up to Christmas is a delightful and energetic time at the school and in the wider community. Our Christmas Celebration and Nativity play performed by 2nd class is a bit of a highlight of the year.
We celebrate Christmas for many reasons. While, of course, it marks the birth in human form of a divine Saviour, it has moved beyond the confines of a specifically Christian event, to include the celebration of new life and hope, of generosity and gift-giving, and of family unity and love.
When I am asked if Santa is real an occupational hazard when teaching clever nine and ten year olds I am very comfortable giving a resounding yes. I ask the children in return: Who is Santa and what does he represent? What does he symbolize?
Once we have a conversation going along these lines it is pretty clear that, as a symbol of magnanimity, and bounteous giving, the presence of Santa Claus at this time of the year is palpable; with people scurrying around looking for those perfect presents for their loved ones, and getting the meals prepared and the houses cleaned to welcome family and friends.
In this spirit the school had a Mufti Day this week to raise money for young girls in Western Sydney whose situation is dire. This particular charity was selected because Callum T, a boy in Upper 1st class, met some of these girls and was moved by their plight. He wrote to me suggesting that we help them and he found himself, figuratively and literally, pushing at an open door. In this and in countless other ways Santa Claus and the true meaning of Christmas is very much alive.