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Have a Blessed and Merry Christmas!

Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flocks. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them,
and they were struck with great fear.

The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all people. For today in the City of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Luke 2:8-14

One of the enduring memories I have of my children when there were young involved taking my then-five-year-old son, Andrew, to the kiddie rides at a carnival. I will never forget the look of unbridled, beaming joy on his face as the mini-roller coaster whirred around its small track. His joy was uncomplicated and complete and, unknown to him then, conveyed almost as a gift. He didn’t want the ride to end. And neither did I.

Joy can be elusive and fleeting in our complicated world and lives. We learn over time to think ahead, to anticipate, and to look cautiously beyond the current moment to prepare for what might come next. Three of the four Sundays of Advent, focus on the need for vigilance, alertness, and readiness (though each in a decidedly hopeful way). However, the Third Sunday of Advent – Gaudete Sunday – reshapes those images by pivoting to themes of joy, rejoicing, and “good news.” It’s a powerful reminder of our need to embrace joy.

The messages of Christmas continue to combine two powerful and important everyday themes for us: joy and hope. My prayer for our Prep community is that we take this Christmas moment, this opportunity, to experience simple joy: the joy of giving, the joy of receiving, the joy of a break from school, the joy of family and kinship, the joy of laughter. The challenges and uncertainties each day presents will always command their time. But on this day, in this season – and beyond – we can give and receive joy and celebrate a rebirth of hope and renewal for ourselves, our families, and our world.

Have a blessed and joyous Christmas!

Jon McGee
Head of School
Saint John’s Preparatory School