A Christmas Message
A Christmas message from Daniel Smith, Principal.
As the end of term approaches, we look forward to Christmas and to the New Year. This year, Christmas may feel very different to normal. Although the fairy lights are still twinkling in Oxford Street and the smell of roasted chestnuts still wafts through the air in Covent Garden, London’s streets and squares are not filled with the hustle, bustle and excitement that we traditionally associate with this time of year. Work Christmas parties have been cancelled and visits to Santa’s grotto are now taking place remotely via Teams, Zoom and Skype. Despite this, an intangible, nebulous ‘Christmas spirit’ still endures.
These atypical times provide an opportunity for us to reflect on what really matters to us in the festive season. People often talk about the ‘true meaning of Christmas’. I am not sure that there is such a thing, because there are as many meanings as there are people. That said, Christmas has a history, and that history affects us all.
For Christians, Christmas is a time to reflect on the mystery of the Incarnation, the belief that God became a man and experienced life in every way we do, with all its highs and lows. For those who live by the Christian message, Christmas is a season of hope and celebration marked with ceremonies, carols and cribs.
Many of us do not assign much meaning, if any, to the traditional role of religion in Christmas. Nevertheless, most of us still embrace our own Christmas traditions, often rooted in giving, sharing and coming together. These traditions may involve decorating a Christmas tree, giving presents, watching Christmas movies, playing games or sitting down to a hearty Christmas lunch.
I particularly associate Christmas with Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Every year, I make a point of reading the book, seeing it at the theatre or watching a television adaption of it. In the character of Eberneezer Scrooge, we find a man who opens his heart to others and becomes a better person. It a story that reminds us of the importance of kindness, charity and goodwill to all.
This year, at the academy, we celebrated Christmas with a free Christmas lunch, accompanied by Christmas crackers generously donated by Lord and Lady Nash. We also held a Christmas jumper day to raise funds for a charity that is supporting a student at one of our academies who is not very well. On the last day of term, we extended Tutor Time so that all students could take part in an inter-house festive quiz. Although we were unable welcome guests to our annual Christmas concert, our choirs, bands and ensembles still practiced and performed in camera. A recording of their performances, including a choral recital at St. Saviour’s church, is available to download from the academy’s website.
On behalf of everybody at Pimlico Academy, staff and students alike, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.