The joy of Christmas
Last Monday evening, on the last day of November, we had the joy of the Carol Service, back where it rightfully belongs in Truro Cathedral, after several years away. (As you may know, our founder, Bishop Benson, invented at Truro Cathedral the Nine Lessons and Carols which are so central to the Christmas traditions of the Church of England.) On Friday we had the Christmas Market; while this week is filled to the brim, like an overflowing cup of eggnog, with Christmas fun: from Christmas lunch in the dining room to Cinderella and Rockerfella and the Pre-Prep nativity to carol singing at St John’s to the Christmas entertainment in the final assembly of the term. We will all leave for the holidays with a warm glow in our hearts and a sense that we are part of a strong and cohesive community.
But, we must remember that we are in a very privileged position, not just by virtue of the fact that we live in the UK, but by living in Cornwall. The threat of ISIS continues to wreak havoc in the Middle East and is now starting to bear down on major centres in the West; while refugees continue to flee their homelands in search of a better life and safety for their children in Western Europe.
Unfortunately, these events bring with them the danger that greater rifts will open up between communities and even within communities the world over. It was devastating to hear, for example, of a Russian jet being shot down by Turkish fighters. For me, it represented the addition of an extra dimension to an already-complex situation and brought with it the fear that the fragile unity displayed against those bringing terror would fracture and break.
It is difficult to see an end to the conflict and there is naturally a deep concern that further disasters await. The fears which most of us experience in the West however, are nothing compared to those faced by so many in Syria and elsewhere, and it is for this reason we have organised a number of events in school this term to support the refugee crisis.
The staff and pupils at Truro High School are very lucky to be part of such a unified community. It is a community where wellbeing is treasured, where pastoral care is pre-eminent and where happiness is valued. While supporting charitable fundraising and developing their social conscience, our girls are able to feel safe and secure in a school where they know they can develop self confidence, try new things and make mistakes. It is a wonderful thing and it is what childhood should be about. I love the fact that our Year 8 pupils feel they can still go and do cartwheels on the grass at lunchtime. I love the fact that as I walk through the playground, the Prep School pupils will stop and talk to me or simply just wave and smile. At the same time, our girls are so kind and caring. Earlier in the term, Reverend Jeremy Putnam was overwhelmed by the donations they made for the refugees at the camps in Calais. And it is worth remembering that these are the same girls who demonstrated such skill, talent and confidence at Monday’s Carol Service and will no doubt continue to do so over the next week or so in the multitude of Christmassy occurrences of which they find themselves part.
I feel very lucky to be the Head of such a wonderful school and I am immensely proud of all those within our institution. What’s more, we should all feel lucky to be part of this community, to be part of this community which remains cohesive and supportive, and where we can relish in the joy of Christmas.