What SDA Teaches About Love

Here it is; the inevitable “Valentine’s Day” blog.  And yet, I am not going to be talking today about hearts and flowers and candy and dinners out. Nor will I focus on the history of Saint Valentine himself, although the risks he took to support the Catholic church are admirable and should be remembered, not only in February but throughout the entire year.  Today, the day before we celebrate Valentine’s Day, a day which fosters and recognizes the love we have for each other, I want to share with you some excerpts from a Joint Public Statement issued by the Dominican Sisters Conference and the North American Promoters of Justice.  For what better topic to focus on than that spirit of love and community that Saint Dominic Academy has been fostering in young women from 1878 to today.

Women and men religious have been blessed to accompany and serve immigrant and refugee communities across this country throughout their histories. We remain committed to welcoming refugees who come here after passing through the U.S. government’s already rigorous screening process.  Saint Dominic Academy opened its doors and its heart in 1878, to serve the children of immigrants in Jersey City; a goal in keeping with the mission of the school which is to empower women for leadership in a global society. Today, the immigrant population in Jersey City has changed, but the idea of Saint Dominic Academy’s commitment to serving students who are seeking a Catholic education, rooted in Dominican tradition has not. Our doors are open to young ladies and their families who seek not only a strong educational foundation, but an education rooted in love, service and spirituality as well.

Our Christian story is rooted in a journey that includes the plight of Mary and Joseph, called out of their homeland to protect the child Jesus. Our Dominican story is 800 years old. St. Dominic founded the Order to preach truth. Our heritage as Dominicans calls us to stand for truth and to raise our voices for truth. This too, is a goal fostered at Saint Dominic Academy, where we teach the girls not only to respect others, but to grow in understanding and love, embracing the different cultures, beliefs and ideas in the community around them, while maintaining their own personal value system as well.  Our religion and history classrooms teach the perils of persecution for religious or political reasons, the ramifications of intolerance and the key insights that mold our students daily into open minded young women, who celebrate diversity and embrace the traditions of various cultures.

Saint Dominic Academy has always taken teaching tolerance one step further.  We do not stop at tolerance; we teach love. Love for our fellow SDA sisters, love for the generations of alumnae, whose support of the school help to sustain SDA traditions, love for those less fortunate, as evidenced by our commitment to service.  Tomorrow, at Saint Dominic Academy, we will celebrate Valentine’s Day, but for generations of women from 1878 until now, the love for others embraced by everyone on February 14th, is a sustaining love that our young women carry with them daily.  It is a love for all mankind and a constant reflection on God’s love for all of us.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

You’re Gonna Make It After All!

I will admit, I am a little young for The Mary Tyler Moore Show. I was born the year it went off the air.  But, as with so many things in life; thanks to syndication, DVD players, Netflix, Hulu and so on, I will admit to being a bit of a fan. I have not binge watched it (yet…think #summernightsgoals) but have seen enough of the show that I have a sense of what a groundbreaking and important show it was, for its time, for women, and even now, forty years after it has gone off the air, how important some of the show’s messages are.

So, short and sweet this week: here are the most important things I learned from Mary Tyler Moore and her show and it is my hope that these lessons will be shared with all of the wonderful women who encompass the SDA community; current students, alumnae, mothers, female faculty, staff and administration!

  1. You truly can turn the world on with a smile! Smiling instantly makes the day better for two people; you and the person you smile at. If you smile daily at everyone you meet, think about how many people’s days you are changing for the better! A smile truly can change the world around you.
  2. It is a CHOICE to be upbeat and positive! Every single day, we are all faced with that choice; to let the world and its worries and weights get us down, or to smile, and be positive! The world is ours and we should celebrate that every single day!
  3. Ladies, we can hold our own in any setting; newsroom, classroom, boardroom, whatever room we are placed in; we can own that room! The premise of the show had Mary interviewing for a secretarial position and instead becoming an associate producer of the 6:00pm news.  Why, because she owned the room she was in!
  4. Each of us has the potential to take a nothing day and make it all seem worthwhile!  How we do it is up to us and the ways we do it are as varied and as unique as each of us are. But, together, we can make every single day worthwhile, special and something to treasure forever!
  5. Don’t ever let someone tell you “ I hate spunk!” It’s the most important thing for us to have!  We should be spunky, be brave, be vocal about the causes we champion and the ideals which we believe in with all of our hearts!  We should stand up always for what we believe in and do it with a positive attitude and a smile gracing our faces!
  6. Finally, and most importantly, we need to keep throwing our hats in the air until the glass ceiling shatters above us! We are strong, we are empowered and ladies, we’re  gonna make it after all!

In Memory of Mary Tyler Moore 1936-2017

Fathers, Daughters and February

What I have learned from my father?  Wow! I could write a weekly blog just on that topic.  My father, a very intelligent man with a history in scientific and academic publishing, has knowledge of and opinions on a myriad of subjects; not limited to his field of expertise. (Biology and Chemistry).  Highly educated, well read, determined, head strong, and insightful, he has been the best man I have ever known. That is not to say we have always seen eye to eye on things and not to say my Father/Daughter relationship was as perfectly wonderful from day one as it is today.  Some of those traits I listed above may sound familiar to those of you who know me well; I am certain that head strong, determined and opinionated caught the eye of my mother as she “previewed” my blog this week.  So, when a father and a daughter share many of the same personality traits (and some striking physical ones in  my case as well), it should not surprise people to hear my say that our relationship has always been good, but has gotten much stronger as we’ve gotten older ( and as I did some more growing up!)

The only and eldest daughter of three, yes, I was my father’s little girl.  My earliest memory of my father is from when I was just a little over two years old. He took me out for the day, probably because, as an early talker, I was wearing my mother out. We went to…the mall! Never my dad’s favorite place to venture; going with a 2 year old in 1980 must have been some experience. Why did we go there? Because I wanted to go on the “rides.”  Those little machines that took a quarter and bounced up and down? Yup; in 1980 that was my idea of a perfect date!  The memory is hazy, but it is there, in my mind and heart; me and Joe Degnan at the mall!

Over the years, I gave some of the things he liked to do the old “college try”, as it were. Camping?! Um…I went. I endured. Was I a happy go lucky camper? Not in the least.  Baseball?  I went. I learned. I enjoyed! And so, there was a common interest.  My dad did the best he could too; my three lines in a production of Carousel in high school. He came ( twice). He endured.  He brought flowers. Was I made aware that musicals, especially those Rogers and Hammerstein ones were not high on his list of enjoyable events? Why yes, I was.  And yet, it was my father who took me to tour the NYU campus when I thought I wanted to attend school in the city.  It was my father who worked with me on my college applications, who listened to stories of my first work experiences, who provided me with background knowledge on any subject imaginable as I began teaching. (Dad, what do you know about Mount Everest? About the scientific possibilities about Jurassic Park being a reality? About how long a 9 year old could survive in the woods on her own?)  Never did he ask “What on earth are you teaching?” He sat, he explained, he explained again (again, and again!) until I understood.

As I compose this, at almost 40 years old, am I still my father’s girl? Yes I am in many ways.  He texts me if the weather is going to be bad in the morning.  Each January, he reminds me about what I need to prepare for my taxes. He beats me to the garbage barrels and takes them out for me.  When I work late, he waits by his window (my parents live across the street) and walks me to the door so I am safe.  He checks my smoke detector batteries. He worries, he worries, he worries!  And he does all of this not because I cannot do it on my own or because he thinks I need to be taken care of; but because he knows that my own life roles, as mother, as Head of School, as educator put a great deal on my plate at any given time and he wants to  help.  He is the backbone that allows me to be the woman I am; the woman I hope inspires many of the young ladies I see every day at Saint Dominic Academy.  My father is truly a wonderful man.

Sitting in my office at Saint Dominic Academy, I am surprised to look at my desk calendar and see we are at the end of January already.  This year, like every year before it has moved at lightening pace and it continues full on; heading into our Spirit Week and, this coming Friday, February 3rd, our 35th Annual Father-Daughter Dance.  Of all of the traditions I have come to embrace as an administrator at Saint Dominic Academy, this one has a very special place in my heart.  Saint Dominic Academy is the first school that I have been connected with, either as a student or a teacher, who hosts an event like this, and what an important event it is.  For in a school that celebrates women, that empowers women, that rejoices at generations of strong alumnae sending their daughters to our doors for education, it is equally important that we give our fathers and father figures a moment in the spotlight and recognize them for being the wonderful men that they are; men who are not shying away from the idea of raising an outspoken, witty, educated, empowered daughter, but men who are saying “Yes! I am proud of my daughter and I know she will change the world!”

On February 3rd, my father and I will join the young ladies of SDA and the men who are committed to making the lives of those girls truly wonderful.  I will look forward to thanking, in person, every father and father figure in the room who has done so much for the young ladies I am blessed to see every day.  And I will thank my father, and encourage all of the girls to do the same. (I bet nobody thinks I can do it without crying!) Ladies, these men help to make us empowered women; how very lucky we are to have them.

A Tribute to Teachers!

“Open your mouth and speak distinctly,” my 95 year old grandfather says through clenched teeth. This is his oft told anecdote about his high school Spanish teacher; the joke being that she never opened her mouth but expected her students to speak clearly. My youngest brother, now a Jersey City Fire Captain, can tell just as funny an anecdote, about his kindergarten teacher putting him in the “Hot Seat” for trying to kiss girls in the classroom. My best friend, a highly intelligent civil engineer can make people laugh until they cry when he tells stories of classroom antics at his prestigious all boys school, the teachers’ lessons peppered with expletives and off color jokes. I myself have been known to tell the tale of my 9th grade typing teacher who would hit me in the head with a pencil when I hit the wrong key on the cap covered typewriter. However, as a life- long educator myself, I follow up that tale with the name of the teacher and the fact that I can now type over seventy words per minute without error. I remember not just the anecdote, but the lesson learned as well.

For generations, teacher anecdotes have often been called out at dinner parties, bar room gatherings and coffee clutches. It is my belief that because everyone has been through the education system, everyone has a favorite teacher story to share. “Telling tales out of school” as it were, became a bonding experience, a conversation starter, and at times even an ice breaker before a presentation or other workshop.  Favorite teacher stories span public, parochial, and now, with increasing frequency charter school graduates. For the most part, the stories are amusing, self deprecating at times, and paint the teacher as a sort of caricature of the profession, not unlike the “ wha-wha-wha” way teachers were depicted in the old Peanuts cartoons.  Funny teachers and zany classroom experiences? Sure, who doesn’t have a story? However, I must ask, both as an educator and as someone who has great faith in the Catholic education system, is this really the message about teachers and education that we as a society should really be sending to our impressionable children and teens?

Perhaps when we look back at our elementary and high school years, we recall a teacher who may have lost his or her temper a bit frequently.  I ask you, indulge me for a moment and look back on that situation, not with the eyes of the child you were, but with the eyes and mind of the adult you are now. Could it possibly have been a first or second grade teacher who worked so hard each day to teach vowels and consonants, while her students tried to color on the walls? However, we all know “a, e, i, o, u and sometimes y”.   None of us missed that lesson, but not many of us, myself included can well remember how it was taught to us in a way we would never forget.

Let’s go back to that stressed teacher for a moment.  Change the classroom from elementary school to late middle school and once again, look back as an adult.  That teacher, who you remember from your childhood as  being too strict or too mean suddenly looks a little different when you reflect, doesn’t he/she? Could it have been an 8th grade homeroom teacher, who was dealing daily with the new raging hormones of just developing adolescents? I bet that teacher was there almost every day, prepared, ready with a lesson that no thirteen year old wanted to hear. After all, we all graduated 8th grade, didn’t’ we?

If you would indulge me one last time and call to mind your high school years. When I look back, I can vividly recall how much I dreaded going to Latin class, where I was sure to be singled out for not being able to conjugate correctly to the tune of whatever song Sister Helen Jean selected that day. But now, I will tell students that Latin and typing were the two most important classes I took in high school!  Who was it for you during high school? A 10th grade geometry teacher, trying desperately to teach the Pythagorean therom to a group of fifteen year olds who were trying to study their driver’s ed manuals in Geometry class?  And yet, we know a2 +b2 = c2, right? (well, don’t test me on it!)  A 12th grade Literature teacher, trying desperately to discuss the inner workings of Hamlet’s fatal flaw, while all around her the seventeen year olds talked about who was taking whom to the prom. However, that teacher tried her hardest to explain Hamlet’s indecision each day.  And now, 22 years out of The Academy of Saint Aloysius, I cannot at a moment’s notice recall the name of the boy  I wanted to go to the prom with, but I can remember that Hamlet’s problem was his indecisiveness.

Unless you finish your education and decide to jump into the fire that is the field of education, what you most remember about your journey through the education system, be it public or private, is a handful of amusing anecdotes. That is not to say we do not, as a whole emerge extremely well educated. WE do, we go on to be doctors and lawyers, and CEO’s, and writers, and actors, and politicians. And we call on, each and every day, the knowledge we gained from grades kindergarten through college to help us in our career paths. Yet,  none of us, myself included at times, is above boiling down our educational experience to amusing stories that often play students in the best light and teachers, in many instances, in not so flattering ones.

Today, as we at SDA move into our 2nd semester of the school year, I do want to take a moment to thank all of our teachers, past and present, for giving their all each and every day. They do wonders in the classroom daily; lessons great and small.  As Head of School, I put out this goal for all of our young ladies at SDA this winter and spring. I encourage our girls to take time to continue to get to know their teachers even better, appreciate their teachers, even if they do not always appreciate the subject matter being presented on a particular day, and most importantly recognize the teaching profession for the challenging one that it is.  I have been a teacher for years, and I will be a teacher for the rest of my life.  And so, today, I thank all teachers, most especially the ones who choose to shape the daily lives of the young women here at Saint Dominic Academy.

A Movement for our Time…HAMILTON!

It does not sound like a familiar world, more like a fantasy or a land far away.  A world where a sitting United States Vice President rows across the Hudson River to New Jersey and murders one of our founding fathers and the founder of the National Bank? That could not really have happened. And then, to not be tried and/or convicted for this crime?  A world where the capital of the United States was almost New York City, not Washington, D.C.?  Unreal!  An early America portrayed not as formal and rigid, but rather set to hip hop beats, featuring scandals galore, torrid affairs, and blackmail?  A stage where our founding fathers,  names we’ve known since 5th grade civics class, not only do not get along,  but where they ruthlessly at times try to one up and betray each other.  And yet, it is being portrayed, to standing ovations each night, in New York, Chicago and California. It’s making its way across the Atlantic, to London’s famed West End.  And, if your morning and evening commute is anything like mine when my daughter is in the car, it’s playing out of your car stereo!  Hamilton, the show that has America rapping instead of humming along, is no doubt a stage sensation!

Over fifteen years ago, when I was just starting out as an English teacher, I often joined forces with two of my colleagues, both just starting on their paths as History teachers, to make the world of American History and American Literature “come alive” for students.  How hard we worked to really capture “Paul Revere’s Ride” or Jefferson’s composing the Declaration of Independence, or Benedict Arnold’s betrayal of the country, or Lincoln’s assassination.  We sought to make history really engaging; not just facts on a page, but the life story of people deemed important enough to earn a place in the massive textbooks placed before students.  We worked tirelessly to connect the men and women of American history with the literature composed to honor, or even at times, mock them.   Each of us would have had a field day with Hamilton! had it been around in those days. I am sure we, as teachers in other schools are doing right now, would have worked to put a Hamilton elective on the listing of classes; because anything that students get this excited about, is worth teaching about!

Have I seen the musical? Sadly, not yet. (Anyone think if I tweet this blog to Lin Manuel – Miranda he will gift me with a ticket? ) Was I skeptical when the soundtrack was recommended to me by some of my current students?  Of course; a rap musical about the founding fathers?  Who wouldn’t hesitate just a bit? But, as he has his leading character state in the play, Miranda truly reached his goal of “creating something that’s gonna outlive me!”   It has, to again steal his words created a “world turned upside down!”  This musical is inspiring students, here at Saint Dominic, where Hamilton pins adorn blazers and Hamilton t-shirts are proudly on display during tag days, as well as students across the country to become not just interested in, but connected to history. The men depicted in the musical, figures from a distant past, have been brought to life in a way students can understand and relate to; in ways that they can connect to their own lives.

And, isn’t that what education is all about, at its core. For young people, not just to memorize dates, places, formulas, stanzas of poetry, but to have a “spark fanned into a flame” and grab their interest so they want to go beyond what is presented in the classroom and learn all they can about a subject? This current Hamilton craze does have many benefits; it’s inspired a love of Broadway in those who might not be interested. It’s so popular that New Jersey Monthly Magazine has published a list of New Jersey historical sites connected to Alexander Hamilton that parents can take their elementary aged children to visit to learn more about history.  It encourages students to look further than the chapter in their history textbook dedicated to “The Founding of America” or “Hamilton Establishes the First National Bank” and read more; maybe online, maybe via blogs, but to seek out more information; to WANT to know more about this subject.

Today, and for the near future, the popular subject may be the life of Alexander Hamilton. But, once that spark is lit, it will continue to burn brightly for other topics, other people, other ideas that capture our children’s interest in similar ways, and suddenly a student transforms into a SCHOLAR, which is the best thing any one of us can be.  And, if the subject of today is Hamilton, well, it’s a wonderful subject to capture the minds and hearts of our youth.  At a minimum, Miranda’s epic musical has created a generation of American students who will never mistakenly list Alexander Hamilton as one of our presidents when asked to name United States Presidents. (When I started teaching, his name appeared on that type of list often!)  And, at its’ best, Hamilton! has taught all these young scholars to ponder what a shame it is that his name is not included on that most revered list.

An Empowered Woman From a Galaxy Far, Far, Away…

When I was five years old, my parents took me to see Return of the Jedi  in the theater. It is the first movie I vividly remember going to see. If memory serves, they took me right after my kindergarten graduation.  It was June of 1983, I was five years old and a true STAR WARS fanatic.  My Halloween costume a year before had been Princess Leia; complete with the cinnamon bun hairstyle. Although the first movie came out the year I was born, I had been lucky enough, so I am told, to be taken to a re-release of it by my uncle when I was 4 years old.  My father remembers me telling my dolls “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope.”  I am sure my brothers and cousins have fond memories of playing Star Wars outside when we had family get-togethers. Two of my cousins, lucky guys, had light sabers that really lit up!  What a galaxy George Lucas and his cast created for all of us children back then!

Last Christmas, just a year ago, I took my daughter to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  Together, we then watched the other Star Wars films on DVD.   Just a week ago, she and I were driving to visit family, when I learned of the death of Carrie Fisher. Not one to become visibly upset over celebrity deaths,  I did, once we reached our destination, give her some toys to play with and sit quietly for more than a few minutes in sadness and contemplation.  For, if Han Solo was my very first crush, then Princess Leia was for certain, my very first heroine, role model and idol.

And so she was for many young women in the years spanning 1977 until today. She was an icon for girls; a truly empowered princess.  She did not lay in a glass box, waiting for a prince to wake her. She did not need to talk to birds and deer, to sing by fountains or whistle while she worked.  Not Leia; she did not wait for men to fight against the Empire; she joined the Rebellion, smuggled information at risk to her own life, and fought bravely for the cause. Later films had her not just fighting, but leading the Rebellion; mastering her own strength and standing equal to all the men who fought bravely against the Empire.  Never once was she portrayed as unequal to men by the filmmakers; not even when they dressed her in that gold bikini. She was wearing that very outfit when she took down Jabba the Hut! Her dialogue was as witty as any male characters, her bravery was as well known and her legacy in both that galaxy and in ours, has been  preserved for 40 years.

As an English teacher, I often look at fictional characters and who is chosen to portray them when they are onscreen.  Carrie Fisher became Princess Leia; at 19 years old, she held her own with her male cast mates, the only woman of any significance in that first film and in those that followed. To step into that spotlight and become an icon at such a young age must have been truly overwhelming, a challenge that may have seemed, at times in her life, insurmountable.  Just as her onscreen persona was, Carrie Fisher was no wilting flower, but instead a vocal force, speaking out about mental illness and the struggles she managed to overcome to be successful. She continually sent the message that strength in life is always needed, recovery is ongoing, and that support is essential if we women are to not only survive, but thrive and become all we have ever dreamed of being.

At 19, I wonder if she dreamed that fans the world over would pay tribute to her on a cold December day. I wonder if she dreamed of being an on screen heroine for girls for years to come and an outspoken and impassioned advocate for mental health awareness.  Or, at 19, was she just a young girl, filled with the same excitement and love for life that fills the hearts of teenage girls today, looking forward to what is over the horizon, or perhaps even in the next galaxy.

Our young ladies at SDA may not know for sure what the future holds; however, we teach them daily that no matter what lies in store for them, they are the heroines of their own life story, women who do not wait to be rescued, but who do the rescuing.  Women who do not wait for men to lead the battles against the evils of the world, but who take on the  battles themselves, ready and willing to face new challenges.  We create daily a group of empowered young heroines, who will inspire change, improve the world, and become icons themselves for the next generation of young women to emulate.  As I mourn the loss of my childhood heroine, I take comfort in her words from The Force Awakens.  Hope is not lost today…it is found.  Wherever each of us women finds inspiration to empower us to succeed, we carry it with us and touch lives forever.

Christmas Reflection #4

For the month of December, the Head of School’s Blog will be a series of reflections on the meaning of Christmas. All reflections have been composed by the Head of School in previous  years during the Christmas season. It is my sincere hope that these reflections will bring tidings of comfort and joy to you and your loved ones throughout the month of December.

 

A whirlwind of white

Downward spiraling amidst the glow of streetlights

Coating the trees

Enveloping the world in

The silence of snow.

Awakening in darkened rooms

To purplish skies

One can feel its presence

And hear its silence

Long before it is glimpsed through curtains

Its heaviness is tangible

Even before it is touched.

Its coating blankets the world

And speaks volumes of memories

Without saying  word.

So too, does the Light of the World

Quietly descend each Christmas Eve

HIS love tangible

Enveloping us in HIS spirit

Speaking volumes to our souls

Without saying a word.

 

 

 

Originally written in 2007

Christmas Reflection #3

For the month of December, the Head of School’s Blog will be a series of reflections on the meaning of Christmas. All reflections have been composed by the Head of School in previous  years during the Christmas season. It is my sincere hope that these reflections will bring tidings of comfort and joy to you and your loved ones throughout the month of December.

 

 

The poinsettia flower…

Its blossoms travel from house to house, from altar to altar,

Its reddish triangular leaves draping Christmas tables and banking fireplaces each year.

A Christmas icon since

“Flores de la Noche Buena”

A long ago Christmas Eve in Central America,

A poor girl, on her way to Church, with no gift to bring Baby Jesu.

Sad and ashamed at her lack of a suitable offering for the Christ she loved so much,

She gathered weeds and with her wee, chapped hands, so red from her walk to church,

Brought them before the altar and laid them at the crèche.

And lo, they transformed into luscious red flowers…a Christmas miracle.

As legend tells it, the poinsettia was born.

Love transforms…love sees beauty in the most commonplace hearts and in seemingly ordinary souls.

So, Christ sees this in each of us…our inner beauty and our eventual transformation

From ordinary, to extraordinary…with Him.

At Christmas, and always, let love be your greatest gift.

Share it, as you would gifts under your tree, in small acts of kindness.

Deliver it, unwrapped to family, friends, and those close to your heart.

Give it, not sparingly, but as willingly as He did,

When He came that Christmas night,

And transformed us all forevermore.

 

Originally written in 2010.

Christmas Reflection #2

For the month of December, the Head of School’s Blog will be a series of reflections on the meaning of Christmas. All reflections have been composed by the Head of School in previous  years during the Christmas season. It is my sincere hope that these reflections will bring tidings of comfort and joy to you and your loved ones throughout the month of December.

One star,

Rising in the moonlit sky.

Hovering, beckoning,

A shining beacon…

Sending a signal to all

Three Magi…

Not confident kings

Merely scared explorers,

A daring venture…

To seek new wisdom

Far away from home,

Lost, disconnected, stranded

No comfort, no hope, no end in sight

Endless evenings stretching before them…

Endless days alone

Their journey harsh,

Their fears manifested at every turn,

Continuing to take the forks in the roads

No guidance sans a shining star…

And the feeling in their souls

The three travel far

Following the sparkling orb

Which leads them to

Emmanuel…

And God is with them forevermore

Embrace journeys,

Take roads not taken,

Accept loss, stumble and fall,

Fear neither the endless night nor the star lit sky…

Emmanuel is with you

HE is in you, in us

Feel Emmanuel in the hearts

Of all those encountered on the journey of your life

Their hearts touch yours with HIS love…

At Christmas, see HIM in everyone’s eyes.

Continue to seek HIM always…

In the hearts of all…

While HIS star shines…

You are never alone

 

Originally written in 2009.

 

Christmas Reflection #1

For the month of December, the Head of School’s Blog will be a series of reflections on the meaning of Christmas. All reflections have been composed by me in previous years during the Christmas season. It is my sincere hope that these reflections will bring tidings of comfort and joy to you and your loved ones throughout the month of December.

 

Holly leaves, waxy green with shining red jewels

Wrap themselves around trellises,

While snow white lights twinkle in the evening’s shadows

And beckon warmly from windows.

Mistletoe hovers in doorways,

Inviting kisses from those who cross under archways

And stockings dance on mantles,

Dangling empty, awaiting fulfillment.

christmas_tree_icon_1

Balsam trees grow in parlors,

Festooned with intricate ornaments,

Each containing its own Christmas memory,

Speaking secrets without words as it is hung on a branch.

Gleaming packages, festively adorned, sit waiting,

Containing tangible dreams and wishes for all.

christmas_tree_icon_1

Take a moment,

Look over, around, and behind the treasures,

So carefully purchased to make someone smile

And see the intangible gift…

Nestled beneath branches,

Sacred figures, frozen in positions

Over two thousand years old,

Offering homage to

The Christmas Story.

christmas_tree_icon_1

Celebrate this year, the Renaissance of Christ

His intangible gifts to us all,

His loving message for our lives

And remember your most treasured gifts,

The meaning you bring to the lives of others

And the meaning they bring to yours.

 

 

 

Originally written in 2008