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Mr Ben Davis, Headteacher

Mr Ben Davis, Headteacher


Christmas turns in a moment from anticipation of the day to the sadness of presents opened and feasts consumed. The smallest details are of great significance at this time of year. I remember the worn, years-old and faded tissue paper that crinkled off the ancient German tree decorations with which my mother would dress the tree on Christmas Eve. As a child I used to snip the top four inches off the tree in January as it was being taken down and disposed of, in desperate attempt to create a secret little relic of Christmas that would keep the celebration alive for the rest of the year.

Beyond the twigs and twinkling glass there is the build-up to the day, a process that is both frenetic and slow. When will it come? Why isn’t there enough time to prepare? Most of us operate between these two poles in December; the chilly contradictions of Advent.

Another of these is the clash between the huge spending and the evident need of those on the margins of society, those who cannot afford the Christmas idealised in magazines, those whose struggles obliterate any impulse to celebrate, to come together.

It seems Christmas challenges us to reconcile many things that feel incompatible: our enjoyment of the season with perhaps our guilt at having what others cannot or our good fortune to be able to spend while others go without. That makes Christmas all the more important as a time to reflect on our good fortune, to consider the possibilities of the event we are celebrate and look for this spirit in the details as well as big events.

I have always loved a houseful at Christmas, a proper gathering, all messy and unpredictable, the kind of get together you do not want to end. But I also appreciate the quiet of early Christmas morning, the late night stillness of waiting, empty stocking on the bed, the moment when everyone is gone. Christmas is a time to focus on appreciation, savouring that which is important to us. Christmas is memory and legacy. It is expectation. It is the well-worn and the surprise; consumption and want side-by-side.

That’s Christmas to me.

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