from the Rev. Aidan Koh, School Chaplain
It is now the time of year that seems to set off the alarm bells inside of us, urging us to hurry up, rush from one holiday obligation to the next, do all of the necessary shopping, get the decorations up, and generally careen headlong into next year as though there were only precious few days left in this one.
And perhaps that's true. Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the end of each year, and as we anticipate the coming year and all of the festivities that precede its arrival, this special time comes with a call to stop and reflect on all that we have to be grateful for. It is a time to thank our families, our friends, our colleagues, and our Creator for all that they have given us; for all that they are to us; and for the countless ways they make each day truly a gift.
As in years past, our 3rd-graders undertook a small writing project during religion class this month. I asked them to write about how they might explain Thanksgiving to someone in another country that doesn't celebrate it. Pretend that you have relatives in another country visiting while school is closed for Thanksgiving; how would you explain why you're not in school?
While they wrote, they posed lots of questions: "Father Koh, what do we call the group of people on the Mayflower? What was the year they came? What is the name of the person who taught the pilgrims to plant corn and catch fish? When did they have the first feast?" Though they may have been a little fuzzy on the specifics of the story, they clearly understood the heart of the holiday.
One student responded that she was thankful for "life," and her answer led me to reflect a bit on whether that would have been among my own answers. While we often ask God to grant us the things we think are required to for a successful and happy life – money, power, admiration – perhaps we should realize that the gifts of God's grace and our very lives are, in all circumstances, more precious than anything we might ask for ourselves. I wonder if I am ever truly appropriately thankful for these simplest and yet most profound gifts. Are you?
While we ponder that, I'll leave you with this story told among our Buddhist friends:
A person died and went to heaven, and he saw an angel packing and wrapping a huge pile of boxes. He asked the angel what he was doing. The angel responded that he was packing and wrapping happiness to give out to the people int he world. "But why are you wrapping them so tight, with solid boxes and such tough wrapping paper? They seem like they'd be impossible to open!" remarked the man. The angel replied, "The boxes and wrapping paper are called suffering, but the key to open them is people's thankful hearts," and then he flew away.
Grandparents & Special Friends Day
Thank you to everyone who helped make Grandparents and Special Friends Day such a success. This year's event underscored why we have come to love this annual opportunity to open our doors to our extended St. James’ family and celebrate together on the eve of Thanksgiving. Please enjoy these photos from the day!
Photo Galleries & Media
Announcements & Reminders
Free Christmas Trees!
If you'd like a free Christmas tree this year, you can enter your child's name into a lottery to win one of five Christmas trees that will grace the stage during the Christmas Pageant. Submit your name (only once, please!) to the box in the office any time between December 1 and 14. The winners will be selected during the last rehearsal for the Christmas Pageant in Chapel on Wednesday morning, December 15. Trees should be picked up outside the school no later than 5:00 p.m.on Thursday, December 16.
Cereal Boxes and Newspapers for Visual Art Class
Thank you for bringing in newspapers and cereal boxes for students to repurpose in the Visual Art Studio. So far we have collected about 150 boxes. Our goal is to reach 600. Yes, 600 boxes! With your participation of just two boxes, we will exceed our goal.
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