Wishing our Families a Happy, Holy Christmas: Jennifer Oaten
Today Monsignor Keating celebrated our Christmas Mass with us and encouraged us to consider the things that are precious in our lives and what we are grateful for. Celebrating Mass is a special way for us to come together as a Catholic community to celebrate the Eucharist, and to conclude the academic year for 2020, one that has been challenging in many ways. It is also a time of thanksgiving for a year of many achievements and opportunities.
At the assembly following, I invited our girls to reflect on the school year and ask themselves some questions. Have I done my best in my studies? Have I been the best friend I’m able to be? Have I participated in House and co-curricular activities and served my school community? Am I committed to being the best Santa girl I can be? Have I been my best self in 2020? What will I do differently in 2021? At Santa Maria College, excellence is achieved when our girls are their best selves.
The word Advent is derived from the Latin word ‘adventus’, meaning ‘coming’. Advent, which begins the Church’s liturgical year, began on Sunday 29 November and encompasses the four Sundays and weekdays leading up to the celebration of Christmas. It is a time of preparation for our hearts and minds for the anniversary of the Lord’s birth at Christmas and it is a time of new beginnings.
The wreath and candles used during Advent are a Catholic tradition originally adopted by Christians in the Middle Ages as part of their spiritual preparation for Christmas. The wreath, made of evergreens, signifies continuous life. The circle of the wreath, which has no beginning or end, symbolizes the eternity of God and the everlasting life we find in Christ.
I hope during the Christmas period, all in our community will consider the real reason for Christmas and take time to attend Mass together, to reflect on the first Christmas Day when Mary and Joseph, humble travellers stayed in the inn and their son was born. One of the main reasons we have the custom of giving and receiving presents at Christmas, is to remind us of the presents given to Jesus by the Wise Men.
I thank all the staff at the College for their work in this challenging COVID year and acknowledge all those who have contributed in any way to supporting the College in 2020. We are also grateful to all our families for their support and partnership, enabling our girls to flourish.
I wish all families a happy, holy Christmas and hope that your family enjoys special time together over the holidays.