A time of preparation for Christmas

Our lead up to Christmas is now well underway. At my home the Christmas tree has been decorated, the nativity set is prominent again, Christmas lights are out, Christmas carols are played and I noticed a large range of Christmas movies available on television. We are making plans for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and menus are discussed and the colours of the Christmas table considered. It is an exciting time to prepare and absorb the spirit of Christmas.

In the Christian church this period of preparation is named Advent. Advent is a time of waiting and preparation for the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day. It is a time for kindness and special efforts. However when we listen to the story of the birth of Jesus, we need to understand the harsh reality of the circumstance in which he was born over 2000 years ago. He was born in a stable, because there was no room at an inn, in the bitter cold weather amongst very ordinary people such as shepherds of the field. These harsh realities are still evident today in our own community amongst the homeless, the lonely and those families doing it very tough. Our community has families who feel helpless, hopeless and disconnected.

I hope that in this time of preparation for Christmas we can be mindful in how we can contribute to making the harsh realities a little easier. In the lead up to Christmas this year, our challenge is to not be subsumed by the busyness of work and other functions, but to take time to be generous, to spend time with people who matter, to be kind to oneself and to recognise the importance of “Joy” that brings us together as families and communities. It is also a time when we can support others to make Christmas a touch more special by contributing to the St Vincent de Paul Christmas Appeal and Christmas hampers. Let’s put a smile on other people’s faces.

Thank you to each of the seven Houses at Cardijn and Marcellin campus for their contributions to the Christmas hampers and the staff for their generous donations of presents for young people in our community. This is what makes Christmas so special!

Dr Paul Rijken is principal of Cardijn College, a Catholic secondary co-educational school (7-12) in the southern region of Adelaide with a total of 1120 students and 140 staff. Marcellin is a campus of Cardijn College. It provides students in Years 10 to 12 with SACE, training and apprenticeships. It has an enrolment of over 155 students and 30 staff. Paul has been the principal at Cardijn College since 2005. He has a Ph.D. from Curtin University in Science and Mathematics Education. He is a Fellow of the Australian College of Educational Leaders.

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