You can probably guess what I was doing this morning! I’m perhaps being a bit sneaky posting about the Christmas Show, as I guess it couldn’t really be said to be something that makes me happy all year round. However, it does make me very happy indeed to watch it, and it ties in with Anna and her school and our community, which are all ongoing sources of happiness.
We’d been a bit puzzled about the theme of the Christmas show, as all we knew was that Anna’s class were performing ‘Rock Around the Clock’, and I couldn’t quite see how it would all tie in. It turned out to be very cleverly done – some selfish, squabbling children who couldn’t share their toys one Christmas Eve were sent back in a time machine to visit various decades of the 20th century, and learn the true meaning of Christmas. Their final stop was to a certain famous stable in Bethlehem, where the traditional Nativity was performed and we got the full tear-jerking power of young children singing ‘Little Donkey’ and ‘Away in a Manger’. It was hugely enjoyable. Anna sung and danced her little heart out, and I also loved seeing the other children, her friends and classmates, the children of my friends and neighbours, who I am watching grow up and gain in confidence alongside her.
The children and their audience learnt that the true meaning of Christmas is Peace on Earth – be happy, try to make other people happy, share and don’t quarrel. Seems to sum up 2,000 years of theology, philosophy and ethics pretty effectively to me.
I can’t believe it is possible to watch a show like this and not feel hope for the future. The school Anna goes to reflects the area we live in, and is very multi-cultural. These five, six and seven year olds are from all sorts of different backgrounds and religions. They speak many different languages at home, and celebrate different festivals with their families, but in school they play together, learn together, perform together, and discover the universal truth that they are all the same. When they argue it is not on racial, cultural or religious grounds, it is over which football team they support or whether Elsa or Anna is the best princess, or who took the last red Starburst.
I always find the teachers at Anna’s school incredibly inspirational as, day in, day out, they demonstrate such patience, creativity, determination and caring. They really excel themselves at this time of year though – I can’t imagine how much time and effort has gone into writing, choreographing, producing and rehearsing today’s show. And they still have the class parties tomorrow and Christmas Jumper Day on Friday to get through before their well-earned Christmas break. The children did them, and us their parents, proud today though.
And if only the little children of today, all over the world, can grow up disregarding superficial differences and responding only to each other’s fundamental humanity, while remembering to be happy, to try to make others happy, to share and to not quarrel, then the future is far, far brighter than it sometimes seems.