Kia ora e te whanau
It is hard to believe we have reached the season of Advent already- only 4 weeks till Christmas!
During Advent we await the coming of our Saviour Jesus Christ, born in a stable at Bethlehem. We hear in the Old Testament readings during this season of a Messiah who would come to help us live in peace.
Henri Nouwen was once asked: “Are you an optimist?” His reply: “No, not naturally, but that isn’t important. I live in hope, not optimism.” Hope is not simple optimism. Take for example the dismantling of apartheid in South Africa. Apartheid was not brought down by guns or violence or even by changing the politicians. It was changed by hope. How? In the face of racial injustice, people of faith began to pray together and, as a sign of their hope that one day the evil of apartheid would be overcome, they lit candles and placed them in their windows so that their neighbours, the government, and the whole world would see their belief. And their government did see.
They passed a law making it illegal, a politically subversive act, to light a candle and put it in your window. It was seen as a crime, as serious as owning and flaunting a gun. Eventually those burning candles, and the prayer and hope behind them, changed the wind in South Africa. Morally shamed by its own people, the government agreed that apartheid was wrong and dismantled it without a war, defeated by hope, brought down by lit candles backed by prayer. During the season of advent, Christians are asked to light candles as a sign of hope. But lighting a candle in hope is not just a religious act; it’s a political act, a subversive one, and a prophetic one too. To light an advent candle is to say, in the face of all that suggests the contrary, that God is still alive in this world, and, because of that, as Julian of Norwich is famous for saying, “all will be well”, irrespective of the evening news. Adapted from Ron Rolheiser.
Term 4 is a unique time of the year for a school. It is a time for celebrating all of the achievements of the past year. It is a time for looking forward to the New Year. We have not been able to celebrate in all of the ways we would have liked or have in the past but this does not take away the many fine successes and steps forward made by all of our students. I would like to sincerely thank all the parents and members of our community that have taken these disappointments on board with grace and with an unwavering support for what we do here. True leadership does not lie in pleasing everyone, it is in making the best decisions for the majority at the right time. It is in putting all of our students first. Jesus Christ did not leave one sheep behind to please the whole flock.
God of hope, be with us as we begin this Advent journey. Increase our faith, show us your ways, teach us your paths, that we might walk with you more closely, our hand in your hand, our feet in your footsteps. Like Mary and Peter, may we show our compassion and love for others. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Charity Fulfils the Law