The Feast of Stephen

SMUS-Views-Bob

This is the season of light. We have had two Carol Services, and today is our whole-School Christmas assembly. This week is also the start of Hannukah, celebrated by our Jewish families. Looking back to a blog post I made a couple of years ago on this day, I am happy to see I am still echoing the same sentiments. The season of light.

Last night at the Middle School Carol Service we heard music, spirited and sacred, performed by choirs,  the Middle School Brass, and the String Ensemble. The reflections presented by the students emanated from the carol Good King Wenceslas, which happens to be one of my favourites. I like it because it tells a story which is remarkably human, because it has some memorable concrete images – the dinted snow that the saint had printed, the peasant who lived by the forest fence underneath the mountain – and because when I was young, before my voice changed, I once or twice sang the part of the page, while I now enjoy singing the part of the King along with the rest of the men in the congregation. It is a bit of an interactive hymn, one where it is hard just to go through the motions.

The students’ thoughts were vivid. In their own words, they conveyed that very physical texture evoked by the carol. They spoke about imagining the still evening, the crisp cold, the light of the moon on the snow, and the subsequent feast in the peasant’s hovel: a family gathered, the wood the peasant had collected now feeding a fire, the King’s meat and wine filling the stomachs on the Feast of Stephen – the day after Christmas, which we usually call Boxing Day.

The families in our school celebrate the full breadth of religions in the world. It is my fervent wish that we can all take the best and truest elements of each, and share the meaning we find in those elements, for good. Share the light.

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Bob Snowden
Bob Snowden was Head of School at St. Michaels University School for 22 years, from 1995-2017.

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