July 5, 2023
GIFTS OF THE SEASON
We have been in the throes of an extraordinary time and I am not talking about the pandemic. Just this week for the first time since the 13th century, we encountered the Great Conjunction. For those who had the fortune of seeing this celestial marvel, I hope you had a chance to reflect on the significance of such a hopeful event. There is a long history of gift-giving during this festive season that stretches back to the Romans. They gave wax candles during the festival of Saturnalia, perhaps to signify the light returning after the solstice. In the Bible, the wise men offered gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. The significance of this astronomical event is not lost in the fact that it was a gift of peace and light when our world needed it most.
As I reflect on this particular holiday season, with all its challenges, I have been rethinking the idea of giving. Where might my time and money be invested if not in buying extravagant gifts? What good could that bring others? Why not begin January with a full heart rather than an empty pocket? The holiday season is a time when we honor traditions such as Boxing Day where customs dictate giving to those less fortunate. The name refers to a nautical legacy. When setting sail, ships would carry a sealed box containing money for good luck. If the voyage was a success, the box was given to a priest, opened at Christmas, and the contents then given to the poor.
The concept of gift giving during this season does not have to be just material items. Especially at a time when we cannot all be with our loved ones or for us at Maplebrook, with our students, we can give gifts of ourselves. Remembering the importance of inclusivity, singing carols that proclaim the importance of peace on earth and goodwill to all and offering kindness to our neighbors brings more joy to one’s heart than material stuff. Inner gifts that reflect positive character can never be replaced by tangible things. This holiday season why not add friendship, kindness, good cheer and warm hearts to our gift lists?
As we close up the school for the holiday season, it is quiet on campus and I take this moment to express my gratitude to all of you. I think about how fortunate I am to have such amazing people associated with Maplebrook. My gift to you is my commitment to all in the Maplebrook community and my warmest thoughts and best wishes for a wonderful holiday season. May peace, love, and prosperity follow you always.